Glossary of terminology


If an image is loaded into 3DSOM Pro that doesn't include the calibration target(s) then 3DSOM Pro cannot use it until the camera location has been defined. This process is called "alignment" and can also be used to adjust the camera position for other images that do include the mat.


A plain coloured sheet of card placed behind the object in each photograph to help 3DSOM Pro to automatically separate the object from its background.

calibration shot

Image taken of the calibration mat under normal lighting conditions without any projected stripes. Calibration shots are used in place of leaving the calibration mat in every normal and stripe shot. This allows better image framing and more automatic masking.

calibration target(s)

There are two types of calibration target. A single radial pattern placed under the object or multiple "domino" targets placed around the scene used for large objects. This allows 3DSOM Pro to automatically work out the exact positioning of the camera relative to the object in each photograph.


Clipping is used to remove unwanted geometry from the stand under the base of the model. A horizontal 'clip plane' can be moved up and down to choose the cut-off point and then all geometry below that is removed leaving the model with a flat bottom surface.


The number of triangles in a triangle mesh can be reduced continuously by a technique known as "decimation". At each stage, a single vertex is removed from the mesh and the surface re-triangulated around the missing vertex to produce a closed mesh with one fewer triangles. Which vertex to remove is carefully chosen to minimise the impact on the shape of the surface.

domino targets

Each domino target is a 2 by 3 rectangular array of (coded) black and grey dots. These are placed around the base of the object being scanned to allow fully automatic, reliable camera tracking.


Each image in the project can have an associated mask that defines where the object lies in the image. 3DSOM Pro uses this boundary between the masked and unmasked regions of an image to define the outline of the object in that image. The outlines in all the images in the project are used to define the shape of the object in 3D.


The virtual representation of your object in the computer as opposed to the real physical object you started with.

normal shot

Image taken of the object under normal lighting conditions without any projected stripes.

point cloud

3DSOM Pro can calculate a cloud of points by processing pairs of photographs of the object illuminated with a stripe pattern. Each point represents a 3D position in space. The point cloud can be used when optimising the surface to create more accurate surfaces with concavities.

radial calibration mat

The radial calibration mat is a simple single printed pattern that can be placed under smaller object for very reliable camera tracking (as long as the dot patterns is not obscured).


Images can be marked as "rejected" which means that they will not be used for subsequent operations such as creating the geometry or textures.


A stand is highly recommended to raise the object up above the calibration mat when taking photographs so that most of the object appears against the backdrop.

stereo pair

A pair of camera shots spaced a short distance apart used for pixel-wise image matching to estimate point cloud data. Each point in the cloud represent a position in 3D space on the surface of the object.

stripe shot

Image taken of the object with low lighting and a digitally projected pattern of stripes focused on the object surface. Pairs of these images are used to create point cloud data for improved modelling accuracy.

subdivision surface

As well as storing the surface as a triangle mesh, 3DSOM Pro can compress this vastly by approximating it with a subdivision surface". A subdivision surface is stored as a "base mesh" which is just a simple triangle mesh but with very few triangles. A final mesh for rendering can then be created from this using subdivision to produce a smooth and detailed surface.

synthetic view

A view created from the virtual model rather than by taking a photograph - useful for editing the shape of the geometry from angles which were not originally photographed or were inaccessible.

texture map

A texture map is simply a colour image that is wrapped around the model surface to reproduce how the original object looks.

triangle mesh

3DSOM Pro creates a 3D model as a continuous surface (possibly in several disconnected pieces) made up of triangles, called a "triangle mesh".

wireframe model

The 3D model that 3DSOM Pro creates before the texture is applied is often referred to as a "wireframe" model.