Epic’s free app that turns real-life items into 3D models is available now on iOS

Epic Games’ RealityScan app, which lets you scan real-life objects and turn them into 3D models for video games or other projects, is now officially available on iOS as a free download after an initial limited beta launch in April. The app could be a handy tool to recreate objects from the world around you without having to build them on your own from scratch.

To “scan” an object in the app, you take a bunch of photos of it from as many angles as you can. As you’re walking around the object and photographing it, RealityScan helpfully shows each picture you’ve taken in augmented reality, as well as a heat map of where the object needs more coverage. You’ll also be able to preview your scan right from the app to see how it looks before exporting it to Sketchfab, a platform for sharing 3D models. (Epic says everyone who uploads a scan from RealityScan to Sketchfab will get a free year of Sketchfab Pro.) From Sketchfab, you can bring the model to apps like Epic’s own Unreal Engine.

I’ve messed around with the limited beta and the final app, and it’s pretty easy to use. My scans haven’t turned out great, but I wouldn’t put much stock in that; I’m using an iPhone 12 Mini, which doesn’t have the best camera, and I don’t think the lighting is ideal in my house for these scans.

Right now, RealityScan is only available for iPhones and iPads, but Epic says an Android version is in the works for 2023.

The app is just the latest in Epic’s growing suite of tools to assist developers in creating 3D objects; the company’s impressive MetaHuman technology was recently used to make a lifelike recreation of NBA superstar Luka Dončić, for example. Epic said in November that more than half of all announced next-gen games are made on Unreal Engine, and things like RealityScan and the MetaHuman Creator could help those developers as they’re building new games.