Q&A with Senior Technical Product Manager Oliver Bürkler – FARO SCENE Software

A scanner is not much use on its own – with SCENE software from FARO, all the scan data acquired on the set can be processed and – with the hosting service – securely shared worldwide.

FARO is a manufacturer of portable 3D measurement technology, and has developed the SCENE software package specifically for the FARO Focus3D laser scanner. However the SCENE software is not restricted to the laser scanners from FARO, but can also be combined with other makes of laser scanner.

Using this software, the user can process the photo-realistic scan data from the laser scanner with the aid of automatic scan registration and positioning methods, and then carry out measurements and 3D visualisations and export point clouds. New tools take care of automatic scan positioning without having to rely on artificial targets such as checkerboard markers or spheres. The range of functions of the software can be extended at will with plug-ins from the FARO 3D App Center, for example for creating a video, for volume calculations and much more. At the same time, FARO has published the new version 1.6 of the scan data hosting service, SCENE WebShare Cloud: This enables scan projects to be viewed, shared and published online. And all with the highest security standard.

SCENE is compatible with Windows from version 7, 64-bit, in addition to which at least a 512 MB graphics card with OpenGL-2.0-interface is required for optimum performance. For stereoscopic display, FARO recommends an Nvidia Quadro card. SCENE uses the manufacturer-independent, binary data exchange format ASTM E57, and the tool also supports all popular formats.



How many laser scanners should be used for a high-quality scan model of which magnitude?

Oliver Bürkler: The crucial factor is always the degree of detail required for a scan. The more accurate a scan is to be, and the higher the resolution it is to have, the longer the scanner takes to record the data. We are talking about a maximum of 15 minutes for a very detailed scan outdoors, within a surrounding radius of 330 metres. The larger and more complex the object to be scanned – for example a large, angular building – the more scans will have to be carried out in order to record all the surfaces. It can thus be an advantage in terms of time to employ several devices in parallel, but it is not absolutely necessary. As far as SCENE is concerned, the software can in principle handle projects of unlimited size, and map them with no restrictions.


How does the scanner store the data?

Oliver Bürkler: The scanner stores the scan data automatically on a normal SD card. If a computer is equipped with SCENE software, data transfer is started as soon as the SD card is inserted, following a brief request for confirmation.


There are two methods available for automatic scan positioning without markers: “Top View”-based registration and “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration. Which of these is suitable for which situation?

Oliver Bürkler: “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration uses all the scan data for registration. In order to be able to operate reliably, this type of registration needs in principle some initial information about the rough position and alignment of the scan. When outdoors, SCENE uses the GPS information saved by the scanner for each scan. Without this information, for example when indoors, the user has to align the scans roughly by hand in advance. In contrast to “Top-View”-based registration, this method requires a little more time but is potentially more accurate.

Prior information about location and orientation are not necessary for “Top-View”-based registration. This method is particularly suitable when there are enough vertical structures – such as walls, for example – available in the scan data.

However, in the case of targetless methods the user has to ensure greater overlapping between the individual scanning locations. So you need more scan positions but you save yourself the effort associated with transporting, fitting and managing the targets.


In which application situations is the use of targets as essential as ever?

Oliver Bürkler: SCENE still supports spheres and checkerboards as targets. The user will normally still want to use targets if he/she wants to georeference the scans, for example, with tachymeter data. The type of most suitable targets depends on the individual case.


In which formats can data such as image files, CAD drawings or cards be integrated into the scan data?

Oliver Bürkler: The user can import files in .tiff, Geotiff, .jpg or .png formats into SCENE. The software then displays the file on a horizontal plane in 3D space. In the case of a Geotiff file, the position and scaling are extracted automatically from the metadata. With the other file formats, the user has to enter the position and the scale of the image, for example by means of a dialog box.


Does stereo 3D viewing work in real time in every situation?

Oliver Bürkler: The output of a stereoscopic 3D view can be easily defined in the 3D settings of SCENE. A stereoscopic view is always possible without any time delay then.


Is SCENE WebShare Cloud permanently integrated into the software or an optional feature?

Oliver Bürkler: It is an optional service from FARO, but from the technology perspective it is fully integrated in SCENE. Advantages of the Cloud service include the easy viewing of scan data in standard web browsers, as well as the provision of data in any size. Users do not need any special software for it. The scans are also displayed as panoramic images, so no knowledge of 3D programs is required. That makes it particularly easy in the case of complex projects to provide access to the data to everyone involved – all without any time delay. Even changes to the project become visible in real time. There is the choice of making the data public or of restricting access by means of username and password.


Is web-based collaboration on the model also possible?

Oliver Bürkler: Yes, that is also possible. Although we recommend that a web conference system such as GotoMeeting or WebEx be used for that purpose when several people are working at the same time. It makes cooperation more effective.


You also offer a free version of SCENE, called Scenect. For which target group is it intended?

Oliver Bürkler: Our intention with Scenect is to appeal to people who are not typical professional 3D scanner users, and to offer them an easy way into 3D scanning. All that is needed are inexpensive sensors such as the Asus Xtion or Microsoft Kinect. With Scenect, however, only one sensor can be used at a time.


Are there any imminent plans for a Mac or Linux version von SCENE?

Oliver Bürkler: There will be no versions of the software for other operating systems in the immediate future. On the other hand, SCENE WebShare Cloud is entirely independent of the operating system.



FARO @ ICE BIM Conference!

FARO UK is happy to announce that we will be taking part at the ICE BIM Conference 2014!

Taking place on the 29th October, we will be presenting our revolutionary, high speed FARO Laser Scanner Focus 3D for 3D measurement and 3D image documentaiton together with the accompanying SCENE software for processing and managing scanned data easily and efficiently by using automatic object recognition as well as scan registration and positioning.

Date: 29th October 2014
Location: Lancaster London
Lancaster Terrace
W2 2TY

For more information visit the event website or email …we look forward to welcoming you!


Architect@Work: New technology for architectural survey

FARO exhibits at Architect@work in LondonFARO UK will exhibit at the 2nd edition of Architect@Work London from 29 – 30 January 2014. This specially tailored contact day aims to reach architects, interior architects, designers and other consultants with a focus on innovation.

During this event, FARO will present the latest generation of high speed laser scanners for architecture and construction; the Laser Scanner Focus3D X 330. The innovative system is the smallest and lightest scanner currently available and is the ideal tool for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The Focus3D X 330 offers everything you might expect from a professional 3D laser scanner – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity. It offers extra-long range – 330m – integrated GPS and the advanced ability to perform scanning even in bright sunlight.

FARO will also present practical plug-in apps for the scan processing software ‘SCENE’ allowing architects to accurately analyze the laser scans in a few steps.

Besides Architect@Work in London 29 – 30 January 2014, you can also visit FARO in France:

La Halle Tony Garnier – Lyon
5 & 6 June 2014

La Grande Halle de La Villette – Paris
9 & 10 October 2014

Parc des Expositions La Beaujoire – Nantes
27 & 28 November 2014

Read more about Architects@work in London

Applications for architecture and civil engineering

Free tickets


3D Documentation User Meeting is under way – a first impression

Have a look at the first video of Day 1 featuring participants, exhibitors, and key note speeches.


Advice from the expert: Optimum 3D-scanning with SCENECT

IT specialist Biermann about scanning with SCENECTIT expert Philipp Biermann scans with SCENECT and he provides some tips and tricks for achieving the optimum scanning results. He describes possible fields of application and answers the most important questions about the hardware and software.

Editorial team: What do you like about scanning with SCENECT?
Philipp Biermann: I always wanted a 3D scanner, so this solution is a good alternative. Unlike similar products, FARO SCENECT is a professional piece of software based on the SCENE platform, which is used for the 3D laser scanners from FARO. For a minimal investment of less than € 200, SCENECT gives you access to the world of 3D scanners and 3D modelling – an interesting topic and quite a nice “toy”. When the consumer hardware becomes available, it will be possible, with the push of a button, to give grandma a replica of her granddaughter as a Christmas present, which has been produced with a 3D printer. Or then it will be possible to smarten up an online job application with 3D image of yourself, instead of simply attaching a passport photo. It can also be used as an interesting addition to your own Facebook profile.

Editorial team: What tips can you as an IT expert give about installing the software and about the hardware?
Philipp Biermann: The installation of the software is conveniently simple – Download, Install, finished. The necessary hardware drivers for Windows are also installed in the process. The software does however require the 64-bit version of Windows 7. No 32-bit version is available. So you should check in advance whether the systems requirements are met, before you buy the hardware. Windows 8 is not yet supported at the moment, but presumably that will not be a problem soon. To use the software for more than 30 days, you should register it straight away. That’s also free of charge.

Editorial team: Kinect or Xtion PRO LIVE, you have tested both motion sensors with SCENECT. Which is your favorite?
Philipp Biermann: Kinect and Xtion differ in only one respect: The Kinect hardware requires an external power supply, whereas the Xtion can be powered via the USB port. When used as a 3D scanner, this turned out to be a not insignificant factor: Small items can be easily recorded with a Kinect but when it comes to people the additional power supply for the Kinect can cause problems. To record an object or a room with Kinect or Xtion, you have to walk around the object with the sensor or move about the room. For that reason a 360-degree recording with the Kinect is quite difficult, if not entirely impossible – unless you have a very long power cable and the help of a second person. For the same reason outdoor recordings with a notebook are almost impossible with the Kinect. In my opinion the Xtion is definitely the better buy.

Editorial team: What do you particularly watch out for when scanning? Are there any tricks that you can use to achieve an especially good result?
Philipp Biermann: In order to achieve the optimum recording it is advisable to walk slowly and smoothly around the object to be scanned. A little practice is required for this. Moving objects cannot be recorded in this way, but a person sitting quietly is no problem for the motion sensor or the software. The scanning process takes about 5 minutes. The bigger the object to be scanned the better the result. A person or any bigger object is perfectly suitable. The important thing is to maintain a distance of approx. 60 cm between the object to be scanned and the sensor – any less than that and the sensor is “blind”.
One very useful advice is to attach the Xtion PRO LIVE with adhesive tape to the screen of a notebook, for example. Then you have optimum freedom of movement.


Indoor mapping and point clouds using Kinect and SCENECT

Have a look at this user video of a Microsoft Kinect user scanning the ground floor of their house using SCENECT software.


Scanning with SCENECT – discover the new playlist on YouTube

SCENECT software is a special version of SCENE LT which provides the capability to control a Microsoft Kinect or ASUS Xtion to create 3D point clouds.

Just plug in your Xtion or Kinect, create a new project in SCENECT and start scanning!

Below the first video in a series of ten on how to use SCENECT, the brand new FARO software.

Click here for the SCENECT playlist on YouTube

See SCENECT live at SPAR Europe
12-14 November 2012 at the World Forum in The Hague, The Netherlands.


Wanted: Beta Testers for SCENE 5.1!

In a few days, FARO will start the beta test period of version 5.1 of our SCENE software family.

Additional testers are very welcome!

If you are interested in attending the beta test, please send an email to:

Please use only this email adress for any communication concerning the beta test to make sure you get a timely response from the right people.

Best regards,

SCENE Beta Test Team


The Workshops: Worth Knowing- Worth Seeing- Worth experiencing!

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