How to create 3D Scans at Museums

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Photogrammetry Artist and VR/AR Creator, Austin Beaulier shares tips on 3D scanning at Museums. Take a look, be inspired and give it a shot!

This article was originally tweeted by Austin Beaulier (@AustinBeaulier) on April 25, 2022 and has been published with permission.

I have scanned in two of the largest museums in the world! The Met in NYC and the Getty in LA and many more! Here are some tips I’ve learned about 3D scanning in museums!

Be polite!

Stop every few photos and stand back from the subject to allow other people to enjoy the work. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you are not blocking peoples view. If it is a busy exhibit just be patient and wait, enjoy the art.

Always check the photography rules online.

Some exhibits will not allow photography. If you are unsure, ask a security person if photography is allowed. Sometimes a phone will draw way less attention while scanning. The only time i’m questioned is when I use my DSLR

Go Handheld.

Most museums don’t allow tripods or even selfie sticks. Keep the shutter speed high to reduce motion blur to compensate for not having a tripod.

Camera Tip:

It’s dark in most museums and no flash or extra lights can be brought. Prioritize cameras that take photos well in low light with low noise to compensate for the high shutter speed and low light.

A color chart that fits in your pocket is a must have.

I used the xRite color checker passport. It is expensive but worth making sure you have accurate colors which is important for museum pieces.

Slow down.

It’s not a race and your scans will just be better if you slow down and take your time capturing the photographs. Slowing down will also ensure that you don’t take any blurry photos.

A great tip for iPhone users :

Take a photo of the plaque/ label and use copy text from the image to create the descriptions on Sketchfab saves a ton of time.

Most exhibits will be under glass and it is hard to cut down on glare and reflections. Sometimes I will use a polarizing filter to cutdown on glare but this can often make the images darker. However photogrammetry is surprisingly forgiving with glare.

3D Scans of Museum objects : for Inspiration, see Austin Beaulier’s Sketchfab:


📝 This story was submitted via Twitter. You can now send us story-submissions through Twitter by composing a twitter-thread and adding in “@theheritagelab publish” as your last tweet. You will be notified once published!

Medhavi Gandhi
Medhavi Gandhi
Passionate about public access and engagement with cultural heritage. Always looking to learn and collaborate; firm believer in the power of the internet. Digging stories rooted in culture.
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How to create 3D Scans at Museums