Tag Archives: 3D scanning

Here’s my 3D print of a Firran from the video game ArcheAge.

I was super lucky to be in the Closed Beta 3 and decided to use this gorgeous game to continue my experiment on 3D scanning virtual worlds.

Instead of using the in-game models for 3D printing, I took a lot of screenshots and reconstructed a model using photogrammetry.

screenshot from ArcheAge

screenshot from ArcheAge

3D scanned reconstruction

3D scanned reconstruction

Above shows one of screenshots I took and the 3D scanned reconstruction. As you can see, there’s some detail loss, but overall, it’s pretty good.

I made the Firran sit as to lessen the idle animation, so I could get a consistent pose.

I used Autodesk 123D Catch instead of VisualFSM and Meshlab (like in last 3D scan) because the surface reconstruction was a bit better. My intuition tells me the point could generation (turning photos into point clouds) is the same as VisualFSM, but the surface reconstruction (turning point clouds into 3D models with surfaces) is a lot better. Though, that’s a gut feeling without proof.

My initial impression of 123D Catch it is very easy to use and gives you nice renderings. However, it’s slow. There’s also no point in using the desktop version since it requires you to sign in through the Internet, just like the web app.

3D scanned world

To create the 3D scan, I uploaded 35 screenshots of the scene to 123D Catch. Here’s an overview of the result. Since I focused on the Firran in my screenshots, the environment reconstruction is not as great. Also, since I wasn’t able to capture a complete 360° view, some parts are lacking details.

3D print model

For 3D printing, I cropped the model and thickened the thin parts (like the hilt of the sword).

It came out great!



This 3D print success proves 3D scanning and photogrammetry techniques can be applied to virtual worlds.

There’s a lot of photogrammetry apps out there for 3D scanning the real world. Those techniques could also apply in the virtual world. For example, by taking screenshots of a scene in a video game, it should be possible to extract a 3D model, without decoding the native files.

Here, I 3D scanned Harvest Moon: A New Beginning (Harvest Moon is one of my favorite video game series).


Extracting a scene from Harvest Moon: A New Begining is perfectly challenging. The game is played on a Nintendo 3DS, which has no native connections to a computer. To get the native 3D models, (I’m not even sure if this is possible), you probably would have to reverse engineer the ROM/game data. Luckily, you could install a homebrew 3DS video capture board onto the 3DS to output video to a USB connection. The outputted video could be used for 3D scanning!

The game also has a 3D world with some camera rotation movement. Camera rotation is crucial because otherwise there would not be enough information captured by the images. The game is also shaded in a cartoon-like way. This style of shading (which I love) will pose challenges to 3D scanning, which is expecting real-world light/color conditions.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a capture board. I could theoretically use my camera to take photos of the screen, but there would be a lot of noise. The next best thing was a Youtube video I found (by Thomal9) that had 2 seconds of footages I could use (Youtube video: time 7:41-7:42).

Harvest Moon Scene

Above is one of the images I used for my 3D scanning. I used a total 12. They are not high in resolution.

I used VisualFSM and Meshlab, and followed Jesse’s Open Source Photogrammetry guide and got the following result with the default Poisson surface reconstruction (the same in the gif up top).

3D scanning result

*One note about using VisualFSM on Windows, which differs from the instructions, you need all the files from the CMVS-PMVS folder for Yasutaka Furukawa’s patch-based dense reconstruction, and not just pthreadVc2.dll.

alternate reconstruction

Here is an alternate reconstruction using 4 for both octree depth and solver divide. The house is much better formed but the detail of the mailbox and the farmer are complete lost.

Given the low resolution of the screenshots and the lack of diversity of the scene, the 3D scanned model of Harvest Moon: A New Beginning came out pretty great. As a proof-of-concept, it shows that 3D scanning virtual worlds is viable. With a little cleanup, these 3D scanned models can be 3D printed, to create custom figurines when the native models aren’t available.

In the future, I’m going to try 3D scanning a high-resolution native PC game to get better results.

Update: Better results with the game ArcheAge