Categories: 3D

Free 3D scanning app review: KIRI Engine

3D Scanning is one of the hottest subjects in Computer Graphics right now. One peak at the industry and you can see that 3D scanning, along with photogrammetry, are getting more and more attention every day. With the market heading more and more toward Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, more and more tools, hardware, and apps are making these technologies even more accessible than ever. 

Today, we are going to take a look at the KIRI Engine App and all the new exciting stuff that was introduced in the 2.10 release, especially with the new iOS 17, which might change the way we think about 3D Scanning and photogrammetry. 

KIRI Engine Brief History

KIRI Engine, for those unfamiliar, is a 3D scanning software that allows you to easily scan any object you want by taking pictures and uploading them to be processed in the cloud. It was first developed by three friends in 2018 during their university studies in mechanical engineering and management. Their first creation, however, wasn’t the app that will be later known as KIRI Engine, but rather a 3D Scanner called PHIZ3D Scanner, which was a turntable-equipped laser 3D scanner. Due to, at the time, logistics and shipping complications, the team decided to ditch the scanner and just focus on the app, which was freely released and was available for Android and iOS, with some premium features that you can buy. The app, for the longest time, used to work similarly to any photogrammetry app out there. You take as many pictures of your object as possible, covering every angle and then processing them to generate a 3D model. The advantage KIRI Engine has over other competitors is that you don’t need a powerful machine as the heavy lifting and the processing will be done on the cloud, and you will get your 3D model when the calculations are over.

KIRI Engine 2.10 iOS 17 update

In this latest version, specifically with the new updates to the Object Capture API, the app can now take advantage of that to produce even faster and very accurate scans in a fraction of the time. This change opens new possibilities for 3D scanning on your iOS device, and the speed is truly remarkable.

Understanding KIRI Engine’s 3D Scanning Process

KIRI Engine is a 3D scanning app designed to work with smartphones photogrammetry. Using AI algorithms and different solvers, it will try to match images and stitch them together to reconstruct your 3D object. The more pictures you take, at different angles, the better the app can determine the object’s shape. 

In a previous video “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj_Xhu7EC0s”  where we talked about 3D scanners, we mentioned that having the LiDAR scanner data as an input would enhance the speed of the scan tremendously and what’s going on here is exactly that Real real-time photogrammetry. And it’s even mindblowing that no processing is done on the cloud. Everything is calculated locally on your phone. However, this will be exclusive to iOS devices equipped with LiDAR scanners, and running the latest iOS 17. That means only the iPhone & iPad Pro models.

 On the other hand, if you don’t have a LiDAR-equipped device or you use an Android device, you can still use the KIRI Engine the normal way. 

Revolutionizing Photogrammetry with Object Capture API

Coming back to object capture. The fact is the tech itself isn’t actually something new. It was introduced back in WWDC21 as a photogrammetry algorithm for macOS, and back then, it didn’t make the splash. It garnered lately because it didn’t bring anything special, it has all the shortcomings and drawbacks of any 3D Scanning technology, like not being able to scan shiny or reflective surfaces, as well as transparent or simple colored objects, and on top of that, back then it only ran on the M-series chips on Mac computers and laptops which greatly limited the usage of the Object Capture API. 

But now, the new Object capture API update changed everything. Now it can run locally on your iPhone device, and the speed at which it delivers a photorealistic 3D model is remarkably short. In 3 passes and in a few seconds, it’s able to match shots and camera angles and do all the calculations that it’s required to bring that real object to 3D. It’s actually mind-blowing. How far the technology has come.

How to Use KIRI Engine’s Real-Time Object Capture

Kiri Engine is actually one of the first apps to implement and provide the Object Capture API to iPhone and iPad Pro models. On top of that, it is extremely easy to use. In order to effectively use the Object Capture feature in the KIRI Engine app for creating 3D scans of objects, you should follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Ensure your phone is updated to the latest iOS 17.
  • Update your KIRI Engine app to version 2.10.
  • Find the new Object Capture feature under the “Scan with Lidar” section.
  • Enter Capture Mode within the app.
  • Frame your object within the camera view.

Manually adjust the framing using on-screen handles.

  • Initiate the capture process by tapping “start capture.”
  • Move slowly around the object you want to scan.

The progress bar at the bottom of the screen will track your point cloud and progress.

  • After the first pass, you’ll be prompted to rotate the object.

Repeat the capture process for a second pass.

Rotate the object again and capture a third pass.

  • If the object is not flippable, the algorithm will detect this.

Instead, you may be asked to change your scanning height by walking around the object.

  • After completing all three segments, tap “finish.”

Wait for the app to process the scan, which may take a couple of minutes.

The beauty of this is that everything is happening locally, so no cloud, and no server are needed, which is crazy because even today, running photogrammetry on a PC will take far more time. However, if high quality and high detail are what you are after, traditional photogrammetry is still the one with the better results, but the Object Capture approach actually produces great results. 

But if you want to know more about the reason how a phone can accomplish this task, you can check out the KIRI Engine Developer video to learn more, but in a nutshell, the technology leans heavily on two aspects: 

  • Apple Silicon’s Neural Engine Optimization: The software is optimized to the max for one single ship, which makes it really efficient to run
  • LiDAR Scanner Contribution: The LiDAR Scanner contributes greatly to the scan by helping with camera alignment. Camera alignment or camera post calculation is usually the most resource-intensive step, as matching all those camera angles requires a lot of time.

Pros and Cons of Object Capture with KIRI Engine

Pros:

  • Quick and easy setup
  • Fast local processing
  • Decent mesh and texture quality
  • Multiple export formats

Cons:

  • Lower quality compared to traditional photogrammetry
  • Some loss of texture and mesh details
  • Requires an iPhone or iPad with LiDAR
  • Exclusive to iOS 17 and above

Conclusion

The KIRI Engine’s marriage with the Object Capture API promises exciting possibilities. You can try it for free and start scanning objects around you. This tool is particularly valuable for game developers and 3D artists looking to enhance their scenes. Kudos to Apple for pushing the boundaries of 3D scanning technology.

In a world rapidly embracing AR and VR technologies, KIRI Engine’s Object Capture sets the stage for the future of 3D scanning. So, whether you’re an iPhone user or a die-hard Android fan, the world of 3D scanning is evolving, and KIRI Engine is at the forefront of this exciting journey. Try it out and see the world in a whole new dimension.

Rami

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