4 Reasons Why You Should Choose the Artec Leo For 3D Scanning Outdoors [With Video Demos]

Published on October 26, 2023. Written by: Pauline Tang

3D scanning outdoor with Artec 3D Scanner

There are certain situations where you have to scan outdoors because the object cannot be moved.

Unfortunately, many 3D scanners face challenges when digitizing objects into 3D models in an outdoor environment. Why does this happen? This difficulty arises because, unlike indoor scanning, we have limited control over environmental elements when working outside. One prominent issue is the impact of sunlight. It can create uneven and harsh lighting conditions when projected onto the object, ultimately leading to suboptimal 3D scanning results. Getting a 3D scanner that can handle outdoor conditions is a great find.

Unlike most 3D scanners, no challenge is too hard for the Artec Leo handheld 3D scanner!

This professional 3D scanner excels at scanning outdoors as demonstrated in this video. The Artec Leo scans even in bright, direct sunlight to capture HD quality 3D scans. Interact with the 3D model on Sketchfab.

Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why the Artec Leo is the perfect professional 3D scanner for 3D scanning objects outdoors.

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Check out the video version of this article you can watch here.

Reason #1

The Lighting System Is Built For 3D Scanning Outdoors

Wondering why the Artec Leo does a great job of 3D scanning in the sunlight compared to other 3D scanners? The reason is that the Artec Leo was designed to perform exceptionally well in any 3D scanning environment, whether indoors or outdoors.

Artec Leo uses a Class I Laser projector that displays a pattern invisible to the human eye onto the surface of your object. This is the reason why you can quickly scan in sunlight with the Artec Leo while still getting high-quality 3D scans.

Unlike other structured-light scanners that use white or blue light, the Artec Leo uses an infrared wavelength of light. Wavelengths of white or blue light are overpowered by the sun, whereas infrared light does not.

You can see how the Artec Leo excels at scanning a section of the railroad outdoors:
Artec Cloud on IPad
Scan data of the railroad displayed on an iPad using Artec Cloud.
Learn more about railroad inspection in this case study we developed in partnership with Artec.
Trade In 3D Scanner
computer graphic
Reason #2

True Mobile Freedom with the Artec Leo. No Computer. No Cables. No External Motion Tracking System.

Artec Leo scanning outdoor

What’s extremely special about the Artec Leo is that it is the only wireless and fully standalone professional 3D scanner. It’s compact. It’s portable. It’s all you need for 3D scanning outdoors, making the 3D capturing process as simple as possible. You can scan anywhere.

Onboard Processing Power with Interactive Built-In Touchscreen

NVIDIA Jetson TX2 processor

This handheld 3D scanner has an NVIDIA Jetson TX2 processor built inside the device, which means you don’t need to connect it to a computer or a tablet while scanning—the processing power is already inside!

Artec Leo touchscreen display

You can see the scans in real-time right on the built-in 5” touchscreen display. The touchscreen builds a real-time digital replica of the object while you are scanning. Interact with the scans while you capture the object in 3D, showing you areas that need attention and helping you quickly get the best results. You can manage your device and the entire scanning process all in this single device.

Artec Leo tilting screen
Intuitive design: Art was able to scan this 10-foot-tall monument on his own, capturing challenging angles with ease by simply tilting the screen.

Completely Wireless

There are no wires to trip over when using the Artec Leo. When fully charged, the battery is expected to power the Artec Leo scanner for up to 4 hours, with the duration varying based on usage intensity. Additional batteries are swappable for all-day scanning. Alternatively, you can use AC power with the provided cable.

When you are 3D scanning in an outdoor environment, you want to carry as little as possible if you are going to travel to scan offsite. In outdoor scanning, portability is key for offsite work. The Artec Leo’s user-centered design and simplicity make it an exceptional choice.

3D scanning a minivan for forensics
3D scanning a Dodge Minivan with the Artec Leo (at Insurance Auto Auction in Puyallup, WA).
Artec Studio car forensics
Artec Studio displays the Artec Leo scan of the Dodge Minivan used in a traffic accident investigation.

No Need For an External Tracker or Vision System

What is different about the Artec Leo is that it can track its own movement with its onboard processing—without using an external tracker. On the contrary, 3D scanners utilizing an external optical tracking device consistently require an unobstructed view with the 3D scanner.

The Artec Leo tracks movement internally. It also doesn’t need to use markers to establish positioning which makes it ideal for 3D scanning outdoors—it’s self-sufficient.

  • Inside-out tracking
    Artec Leo: Inside-out tracking

    (No need for an external tracker or vision system)

  • Outside-in tracking
    Outside-in tracking

    (Requires an external tracker or vision system)

100% Cable-Free Scanning and Data Transfer

With Artec Leo’s WiFi connectivity, data transfer is super simple. You can upload your data right from the device to Artec Studio 3D scanning software. You also upload directly to the Artec Cloud with scan-to-cloud functionality, so you can get to work right away if you are scanning off-site and need your data ready for you to continue post-processing when you come back from the office.

AI technology
Reason #3

This Smart 3D Scanner Get High-Quality, Accurate 3D Scans For Outdoor Scanning

What makes the Artec Leo a smart 3D scanner? It’s powered by proprietary AI technology developed by Artec. This 3D scanner does all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. Just point and shoot to get started on 3D scanning.

A typical 3D scanner relies on a cable connection to transfer images to an external computer for processing. In contrast, a smart scanner boasts an integrated computer and memory. The Artec Leo stands out by eliminating the need for an external computer in the field, handling both scanning and scan data alignment independently.

The Artec Leo makes 3D scanning look easy, but rest assured the scanner the Artec development team worked very hard to make it look that simple to help you capture the perfect scans—every single time. Especially for scanning outdoors where you can’t control environmental conditions, it’s great to have a 3D scanner like Artec Leo. The device only captures the data you need while getting HD quality and submillimetre accuracy scans.

Technical Specifications At A Glance

3D Resolution Up to 0.2 mm
3D Point Accuracy Up to 0.1 mm
3D Scans HD Quality

Having intelligence streamlines the capturing process—less capturing and processing time, as well as cleanup work. This all leads to significant time savings so you can finish your projects faster and be the most productive.

3D scanning with the Artec Leo is like painting with a brush. Smart data capture and state-of-the-art hybrid geometry and texture tracking free you up from using targets or markers. See how fast we scanned this kayak outdoors.
Multiple scanning range
Reason #4

Ability To Scan a Wide Range of Objects

The Artec Leo offers a wide spectrum of objects you can scan, capturing medium-sized (20 to 50 cm) objects as well as large (50 to 200 cm) ones. When this portable 3D scanner is paired with a powerful computer, it can even scan very large objects (200+ cm) or even entire spaces!

The Artec Leo is adaptable for all types of applications including 3D visualization, reverse engineering, and inspection.

Objects you can scan outdoors with the Artec Leo:

  • Arts: sculptures, monuments, statues
  • Cultural preservation: archaeology sites
  • Automotive: motorcycles, car, trains, buses, airplanes
  • Manufacturing: pipes, factories
  • AR/VR: 3D scanning props, people
  • Forensics: crime scenes
Scanning door frame using Artec Leo
3D scanning the exterior of the house, specifically the door frame, using the Artec Leo handheld 3D scanner.
This is a 3D model of the James Madison Bronze Statue at James Madison University. 3D scanning monuments and sculptures are useful for art preservation and restoration. Interact with this 3D model on Sketchfab.
Snowmobile 3d scan
This 3D model of a snowmobile was scanned with the Artec Leo with HD Mode of Artec Studio that creates sharp, clean, and detailed scan data. Interact with this 3D model on Sketchfab.
Fountain basin color 3d scan
This fountain’s 7-meter basin was scanned using the Artec Leo in just under 50 minutes. There was no need for additional preparation or the use of extra features to improve the scanner’s tracking. Interact with this model on Sketchfab.

Artec Leo Paired with Artec Ray II

The Artec Leo can even be combined with the Artec Ray II Lidar 3D scanner to capture high details of scenes or environments!

Air rescue helicopter being 3d scanned with Artec Ray
Helicopter 3d scan
Combining the best of both scanners, this Luxembourg Air Rescue McDonnell-Douglas MD-902 helicopter was first captured using the Artec Ray for the large surface and then the Artec Leo to capture the fine details.

Versatile 3D Scanner. One device, countless use cases.

The Artec Leo is the most versatile 3D scanner that Artec 3D has ever made. What’s truly special about the Artec Leo is that for such a small device it packs a punch.

While the Artec Leo produces impressive results within a controlled indoor setting, the true test of a 3D scanner’s capabilities lies in its capacity to scan in all sorts of conditions. The Artec Leo is praised for its outdoor scanning capabilities, user-friendly features, and fully self-sufficiency, making it a powerful tool for professionals across various industries.