Scaniverse now supports simplification, allowing you to build more efficient models while maintaining a high level of fidelity.

We’re excited to announce that Scaniverse now supports mesh simplification. With this update, scans process faster, take up less space, and render more efficiently — while remaining true to their original appearance. In addition, textures on simplified meshes generally have fewer seams and visual artifacts.

## What is mesh simplification?

A 3D model is typically represented as a mesh of triangles that tile the surface of the object. Mesh simplification decreases the number of triangles in the mesh while keeping its shape as close to the original as possible.

The 32 triangles on the left can be replaced with the 2 on the right. Both shapes are the same.

The 32 triangles on the left can be replaced with the 2 on the right. Both shapes are the same.

In an ideal case, many triangles can be eliminated without altering the shape at all. Imagine a perfectly flat rectangular surface. All triangles composing the rectangle can be replaced with only two while leaving the shape unchanged.

Of course the world doesn’t consist solely of flat rectangles. There are curved surfaces and complicated organic shapes. Eliminating triangles from these can produce a coarser approximation, so it’s important to proceed with care.

## Why simplify?

Simplification has many benefits. First, simplified meshes can be represented more compactly. Simplified scans require less space to store on your phone or tablet. When sent in a message or posted to Sketchfab, they’ll upload faster and use less data. They’ll also render more smoothly on slower devices or when your phone is busy performing other work (for example when viewing a scan in AR).

Second, simplification reduces the time it takes to process a scan. This may seem surprising since it adds a new step to the processing pipeline. However, simplification runs before texturing, and it greatly reduces the amount of time required to texture the model. In our tests, simplification reduced average processing time by nearly 40%.

Finally, simplification can improve the appearance of models. With fewer triangles to process, the texturing step can do a better job at avoiding seams and blending across seams to hide them.

When applied carefully, simplification can remove redundant data while preserving full detail in complex regions. For each potential simplification, we consider the local curvature and the amount of change to the surface that the simplification would introduce, rejecting ones that would alter the surface significantly. As a result, flat regions are heavily simplified, while corners and edges are not. Though the model on the right has 8 times fewer triangles than the one on the left, it’s hard to spot a difference.

## Enabled by default

Simplified meshes are faster, smaller, and often have better-looking textures than their unsimplified counterparts. As a result, we’ve enabled simplification by default across all quality levels We’ve also included an option to disable simplification in the settings if you prefer a dense mesh.

Please give the new version of Scaniverse a try and let us know what you think!