123D Catch

This tutorial was written for the 123D Catch web app, which has been discontinued in favor of the mobile apps. Most of the advice is still applicable.

123D Catch from Autodesk is a fast and easy way to get started with 3D scanning and photo-reconstruction.

This tutorial will show you how to take this:

Sketchfab 3d model autodesk 123d catch photogrammetry reconstruction tutorial rhino

and make it into this:


Video Demo:


1. The first step is to choose the right space to do your scan: well-lit with few shadows. Natural light always works best. Place some sort of platform in the center for your object, just your average bar stool works great. But if you can walk around it, you can scan it!

2. Take a piece of scrap paper and draw a scribble or 8 on it; an old newspaper also works. You need this to create a reference within your images. Place it on your platform with your object on top of it. Make sure to place it how you want it because you will not be able to move it at all until the scan is over. (If you’re object is alive, this would be a good point to remind your muse to be very, very still!)

Note: From this point on I am doing the process for manually 123D Catch-ing your model, there is also a 123D App available for your Smartphone which works very well. It follows the same procedure, minus the computer!

3. Using a camera (almost any will work, though the higher the resolution the better) frame the object in the center of your photo, make sure its in focus and capture! Take 20-30 (or more if you want, 123D accepts up to 70!) of these incrementally around the object from the same distance. Then take 5 - 8 more from a higher angle. Here are the photos used for this demo:


4. Upload all the photos to your computer and open the 123D web app. Sign in with your Autodesk account and start a new 123D project. Upload the photos you just took, check the thumbnails for any that need to be rotated or deleted. Click next and Autodesk will start stitching them together for you.

5. At this point everything is on the cloud so its fine to leave the web page and come back later when it’s processed. This can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour, depending on the number and resolution of photos.

6. When you come back to the web app, make sure you’re still signed in, click the menu icon in the top right, click Open > My Projects, and open your model!

7. Now Its going to look a little messy at this point, it probably caught a lot of the room along with the object you wanted scanned. The tools in in the app make the cleanup process simple, it’s just a lot of selecting and deleting.

8. Now once your model is all cleaned up, hit the save icon, and then EXPORT AS OBJ which can be found in the same drop-down menu we used earlier to open the model. Your computer will download a compressed (ZIP) file, save it and open up Sketchfab!

9. Once logged in click the Upload button, choose the ZIP from 123D Catch, and click Continue. Give it a title, description, and some tags. When the upload is finished, click Continue and you’re done!

From there you can edit your Scene and Material Settings, and share your model with the world.

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    Great job Miranda :)

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    Excellent workaround!
    Now Ive been using 123D catch a whole time and half my scans have been resulted in this error: "Failed to download data file". I have the images following along each other and they are numbered. Please leave a suggestion.

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    @richardwalton89 - Hmm I'm not sure what you mean. Have you tried ReCap 360?