Interview: “As Simple as 1, 2, 3D” – Scann3D

“Basically, when it comes to visualising interior space online, it is hard to determine whether a property is as it seems or rather, a craftily marketed shoebox.”

Scann3d Logo

We couldn’t agree more when it comes to digital visualization as, more often than not, you have no idea if what’s stated is an actual representation of the product itself. This can apply to within the gaming sphere as technology such as the Oculus Rift are being molded and developed into capable, everyday platforms. Imagine experiencing first-hand a virtual airspace given the freedom to explore wherever you desire based on no limitations.

Scann3d is an interesting, evolving 3D technology company that has us riddled with excitement about the possibilities it provides for the near future of, not just the gaming industry, but also for virtual airspace as a whole. Trent Clews-de Castella, Co-founder and CEO at Scann3d graciously provided insight into just what it takes to enter into the fast-paced technology industry today.

Interview Q&A

– First off, what is your studios background and how did it come into conception? Can you give us a little info about your company and what you guys do?

Well,​ I guess it all originally began when I was participating in an interesting social experiment here in Melbourne, Australia. Imagine Startup weekend, except on steroids! I formed a group with a designer, game developer and realtor and together, we tried to address the problem which we coined as the shoebox principle. Basically, when it comes to visualising interior space online, it is hard to determine whether a property is as it seems or rather, a craftily marketed shoebox.

​We realised that there is some pretty amazing 3D technology being developed in this space and decided that we could apply these new developments to how people interact with physical environments via digital platforms such as web and mobile.

So, here we are today… Scann3d is now a small company with a growing team of game developers, designers & photographers. We utilise some pretty cutting edge technology that uses an array of 2D and 3D cameras to create 3D models of interior space. Furthermore, our game developers are creating some really immersive and exciting environments and applications for users to experience a space from anywhere in the world and at anytime…basically, we get paid to play with cool stuff!

– You recently held a presentation at the 3D expo right? Could you go over what your presentation was about? Maybe some key points?

​In essence, my presentation was called ‘How portable 3D scanning is ready to change the game’. I was demonstrating how some incredible advances in mobile processing power now means that we see more boost coming from our handheld devices than what is required in an autonomous self driving vehicle.

What does this mean?

It means we will see incredible new capabilities pushed into our devices and hands and therefore transforming the way we choose to interact with physical environments. Imagine if the directions to your next destination didn’t just end at the front door, or being able to play games where the digital and physical meet.

We are beginning to see devices such as project tango and the structure sensor (Ipad mounted scanner) empower developers with new tools to create virtual worlds extracted from their existing surrounds. Imagine sculpting a weapon, trophy or character in clay and then importing the model into a highly detailed 3D wireframe, ready to be enhanced and digitized into something revolutionary.

Ultimately, 3D printing has hit the mainstream tipping point, however we will see 3D scanning reach a similar capacity in the coming  years, as new hardware makes its way into our hands. This has already begun to transform architecture, medicine, gaming and design.


team today

– Products such as the Oculus Rift open up a new frontier of opportunities. What do you think about the future of merging the 3D realm with reality?

With companies like Oculus VR and Sony pushing the frontier of VR you can only imagine the possibilities. If you take the comparison between the very first and current gen versions of the Lara Croft character in the Tomb Raider series and extrapolate that kind of advancement in the VR space its just amazing to think what could happen. VR has been a fad once or twice per decade since the 80’s but in the last 3 years we’ve seen the AAA space race towards realism, this is thanks to games like FPS’s in the US making gaming the norm in the western world and with the momentum the industry has now as well as big companies like Sony getting behind the legitimacy of VR in this gen of gaming I think its here to stay this time.

I also think that VR being pulled into the social space by Facebook opens up an exponential array of verticals in which VR can improve industries.

​Novelties aside, we are using tech such as the Rift with our own operations. Scanning an environment, importing it into Unity, where we then enable a rift compatible version. This has been an eye opening experience for those who don’t have the time to go inspect their next multi-squillion dollar investment property, however we would like to see it being thrust into an environment where those confined to one location (such a hospital beds or boring jobs) ​can experience something that only dreams are made of.

We have partnered up with an awesome initiative called CyArk, which aims to digitally preserve 500 of the worlds heritage sites. Here are some cool work they have done with the Sydney Opera House… Imagine being able to walk through some of the worlds most iconic sites from the comfort of your couch. Win!


– Our reader-base and followers are largely from the game development community. Is there anything gaming related you guys will be doing in the near future?

Currently we are in the early days and it’s mostly development of our own product on the horizon but there are definitely some game applications for 3d Scanning in the works, but I can’t give too much away.

​In essense, we hope to bring in element of the physical and recreate the same sensation when being experienced in the digital. Utilising motion, stereoscopy (3D) and haptic feedback to create a pretty phenomenal virtual environment.

“It has been an absolute thrill responding to these questions. I ran it past my team of game dev’s and it sparked a glisten in their eyes, seeing what we are working on and how it pertains to gaming is reassuring for all of their hard work.” – Trent.

– Do you have any other exciting projects coming up?

We’re working with some 3D Scanning specialists around Melbourne to help preserve the Royal Exhibition Building ​which was Australia’s first world heritage site. We are also working with some crazy engineers to equip drones with 3D scanning technology in order to create visually stunning 3D models of heritage buildings.

We would love to see a future where you might be playing a zombie survival game that’s taking place within your own house, school or landmark.


– What have you learned from your experience thus far working within the 3D tech industry?

Everyone that’s in a tech startup or an established tech company is there because they love what they do. And what they do, is get paid to play with cool toys, gadgets and programs. ​As always, we continue to be reminded that despite our grandest vision, best efforts and time invested, there is always more to be done. Behind every hurdle, another incredible opportunity presents itself.

​The career I have chosen within the tech industry has to be one of the most exciting. Every single day, new developments and breakthroughs are made, whether it be a 3D printed kidney, or an augmented bionic limb that instills enhanced human prowess.

At the end of the day, the most important thing I have learned is to love what you do and do what you love. When I first told my parents that I wanted to discard future studies to get involved in the 3D tech industry, they looked at me as if I was mad. Not even 6 months later, I now have a team of 8 and some serious interest by some top level dogs willing to splash some serious cash. ​


– What advice do you have for any other 3D enthusiasts or innovative entrepreneurs?

Ask for help and advice regularly and look for programs and meetups!

There are heaps of meetups for people who want to speak to people in tech or start up their own business. There are game meetups like global game jam, ludum dare and hundreds of local ones around the world. There are 3d printing meetups and consultancies everywhere you look nowadays and as 3d scanning receives the traction that 3d printing has in society it will be very similar.

Just last week I got my body scanned and talked to some gentlemen who believe they have the largest 3d printer in the world at the Inside 3d printing conference in Melbourne, so get out there and talk to people!

If you want to start your own company or develop your own product, its an old adage but “fail fast, fail often” and then ask for help from the wonderful community.

A Final Word

Thanks for providing such wonderful vision and enthusiasm Trent and it is clear to see that you definitely have passion for the technology industry. If you want to check out more work from Scann3d, you can do so here. Until next time!

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