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Capturing Reality: An Introduction

Session scheduled at 1:30-2:20 in Room 2 (Swain)

The technologies for engaging with 3d content through virtual reality and augmented reality are advancing at a rapid pace. While some of this content is “born digital” in a 3d modeling program, we often wish to capture the objects, spaces, and buildings around us for a virtual experience. The range of technologies for performing this type of reality capture can be daunting or cost prohibitive. This presentation will provide a survey of reality capture technologies, their pros and cons, and advice on how to get started capturing your world for VR and AR. It will also explore the types of workflows involved with taking this content from raw data to models and formats usable for visualization and interaction.


  • Attendees to this talk will gain a clear understanding of the tools, technologies, and resources necessary to successfully begin capturing objects, buildings and spaces for use in AR and VR.
  • They will learn about both free and for-cost software and hardware options for performing these types of 3d capture.
  • They will also gain an understanding of the relative complexities involved with different approaches, and how to begin a project with a successful outcome in mind.

Attendee Skill Level: This session is intended for those just getting started in 3d capture, including technologies like photogrammetry, structured light capture, LIDAR, and laser triangulation.

Presented By

Colin McFadden

Colin McFadden

Colin McFadden is a Technology Architect for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. His work primarily focuses on media processing and advanced imaging, an in particular the ways those technologies can benefit education and research. Away from the computer, he is passionate about travel, cooking, and rock climbing. Preferably all at the same time.

Follow @cmcfadden on Twitter

Samantha Porter

Sam Porter

Samantha is doctoral candidate in anthropology and a full time staff member in Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cites. Her research interests include the application of new and accessible technologies to archaeology and cultural heritage including 3D scanning, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality.