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Samrat Shrestha profile image Samrat Shrestha

How Does the 3D Scan Cleanup Process Work in Blender?

Discover the art of 3D scan cleanup in Blender – from mesh simplification to texture refinement, explore the transformative process for creating polished and realistic 3D models

Clean Up with Blender

Blender's 3D scan cleanup process involves a series of steps to refine and enhance scanned 3D models. First, the imported scan data is typically very dense, containing imperfections, noise, and unnecessary details. Blender offers powerful tools to simplify the mesh by reducing the number of vertices while preserving essential shapes. After simplification, artists employ various smoothing, sculpting, and retopology techniques to eliminate artifacts and irregularities. 

Texture painting and UV unwrapping can be applied to restore or enhance surface details. Additionally, Blender's powerful modifiers like Decimate and Subdivision Surface help optimize the 3D model further. The result is a cleaned-up, visually appealing 3D scan ready for texturing, rigging, and rendering within the Blender environment.

Merging the scan's geometry

When collaborating with a custom 3D modeling company, merging the scan's geometry in Blender is critical in the 3D scanning cleanup process. This involves seamlessly integrating multiple scans or scanned parts into a cohesive and coherent whole. 

Blender's robust capabilities in this area enable the precise alignment and fusion of scanned components, ensuring they fit together flawlessly. This process often entails using alignment and snapping tools to match corresponding vertices and edges, followed by mesh merging techniques to create a unified geometry. 

Its result is a consolidated 3D model that accurately represents the original object, refined to meet the specific requirements and quality standards of the custom 3D modeling company. It's also about allowing for a seamless transition into subsequent 3D design and production pipeline stages.

Scan orientation process

Scan clean up of a figure
  1. Importing Scans: The scan orientation process begins by importing 3D scan data into Blender, typically point clouds or mesh files.
  2. Alignment Tools: Blender provides tools to adjust the scan's position and orientation relative to the desired reference point or axis. This step ensures the scan's proper alignment within the 3D workspace.
  3. Snapping and Grid Alignment: Precise positioning is achieved through snapping tools, allowing vertices or objects to snap to specific grid points, surfaces, or other elements in the scene.
  4. Rotations and Transforms: Blender enables users to apply rotations, translations, and scaling to align the scan data accurately. The desired orientation makes it ready for further modeling or cleanup.
  5. Gyroscopic Reference: In some cases, gyroscopic reference devices can be used to assist in aligning the scan accurately within Blender, ensuring that it matches the intended orientation in the real world.
  6. Visual Feedback: Blender offers real-time visual feedback, helping users evaluate the alignment quality and make necessary adjustments to achieve the desired scan orientation for subsequent modeling or rendering tasks.

Floating geometry

Floating geometry in Blender refers to disconnected or unattached elements within a 3D model, which can hinder the overall model's integrity and appearance. Custom 3D modeling companies often encounter floating geometry when optimizing or cleaning up scanned models.

Blender offers tools for selecting and merging disconnected vertices or faces. Likewise, it ensures a seamless and coherent 3D model vital for meeting the high-quality standards expected by custom 3D modeling companies and their clients.

The Boolean Modifier

In Blender, a boolean modifier is a powerful tool for combining or cutting shapes by applying Boolean operations such as Union, Difference, and Intersection. It allows users to create complex geometry using other objects as "tools" to modify existing shapes. This feature is invaluable for 3D modeling tasks, making intricate designs and precise cutouts or intersections within a 3D scene easier.

Smooth modifier to fix bumps

The Smooth modifier in Blender is a handy tool for refining the surface of 3D models to eliminate unwanted bumps or irregularities. When applied, it averages the vertex positions within a defined radius, smoothing out rough areas and creating a more polished appearance. 

The modifier is particularly useful for enhancing organic shapes or ensuring a seamless finish on complex surface models. By adjusting the iteration count and factor, users can fine-tune the smoothing required for their specific modeling needs, ultimately achieving a smoother and more aesthetically pleasing result.

How clone tools fill texture gaps

Clone tools fill texture gaps or repair areas within an image. These tools allow users to sample a portion of the image and then "clone" or replicate that tested content in another room. This process is beneficial when there are imperfections, blemishes, or gaps in a texture or image, and the goal is to seamlessly blend or extend the existing pattern to make it appear continuous.

To use the clone tool effectively, users select a source point from which they want to clone the texture, and then they can brush or paint over the area where the gap or imperfection exists. The tool duplicates the surface from the source point, preserving color, tone, and texture details, resulting in a seamless and consistent appearance. This technique is commonly employed in tasks like retouching photos, fixing texture seams in 3D modeling, or filling missing areas when digitally painting textures on 3D models.


Finished Model

The Scan Cleanup process is a comprehensive and intricate workflow that transforms raw, often noisy, and imperfect 3D scan data into refined and visually appealing 3D models. This involves a series of steps, including mesh simplification, noise reduction, sculpting, retopology, texture painting, and the application of various modifiers. 

The ultimate goal is to produce a cleaned-up 3D scan that can seamlessly integrate into 3D modeling, animation, and rendering. Blender's versatile tools and features, coupled with the skill and expertise of 3D artists, make it a powerful platform for bringing the scanned world into digital creativity, enabling the creation of stunning, lifelike 3D assets for a wide range of applications.


How do you clean a 3D scan?

Cleaning a 3D scan involves using software like Blender to simplify the mesh, remove imperfections, and refine the texture. Artists may also sculpt and retopologize the scan to enhance its quality, ensuring it is ready for further 3D modeling or rendering.

How to smooth a 3D scan in Blender?

To smooth a 3D scan in Blender, you can apply the "Smooth" modifier, adjusting the iteration count and factor to control the level of smoothing. Alternatively, sculpting tools can manually smooth out rough areas and achieve the desired surface finish.

Can we edit a 3D scan?

Yes, Blender offers extensive tools for editing 3D scans, including mesh simplification, noise reduction, sculpting, retopology, and texture painting, allowing artists to refine and enhance the scanned model's appearance and quality.

Samrat Shrestha profile image Samrat Shrestha
A 3D enthusiast, I explore technology and craft ideas out of it—a true believer in developing content that provides smart and business-oriented solutions.