3D Scanning of Black Materials – Why Is It Difficult? Central Scanning Blog

3D Scanning of Black Materials – Why Is It Difficult? Central Scanning Blog

The complexity of 3D scanning black materials can often lead to diminished results when not properly completed.

In fact, black and chrome, highly reflective surfaces are deemed the worst for scanning. Blackness, in any case, can be hard to capture, leading to details being lost and an overall outcome that is hard to utilise.

At Central Scanning, we make it our mission only to stock the very best, proven 3D scanner technology. Consequently, giving our customers the answer to their data collection needs. This meticulous technology has transformed the world of collecting data, especially in terms of complex surfaces that other methods cannot adhere to.

Why are black and highly reflective materials hard to scan?

As previously mentioned, black is hard for any camera to see. Due to its sheen, the light given off by a scanner reflects off the surface, usually in an array of wrong directions. This misinforms the scanner, generating high noise and sometimes making it impossible to see. Therefore, results are left distorted or inconclusive.

The same difficulties can be seen with transparent or other reflective colours. However, we recommend using 3D scanning spray for these surface types to combat this.

Choosing the right scanner for black materials.

The GOM ATOS Q 3D scanner is the answer to 3D scanning black materials. It easily scans black using powerful blue light technology combined with an impressive software infrastructure. It only takes a few extra seconds to scan a black surface as opposed to a white, making this a superior 3D scanner.


The ATOS Q is made with flexibility for complex measurements and inspection tasks for a range of applications. Using interchangeable lenses, you are given precision at a whole new level.

However, this device is only compatible with small to medium-sized parts, which should be considered upon purchasing.

This structured light scanner also uses fringe projection, allowing it to scan parts intricately, even on a 3D basis. When utilising the GOM Inspect Software, you can inspect the model, and its tolerances. So, you can ensure that it’s been produced to a high standard.


For a really highly reflective surface such as chrome, we also recommend the ZEISS T-SCAN Hawk 2. It is laser based and provides a very high quality scan even with extremely challenging surfaces to capture.

What else do you need?

When 3D scanning, markers are fantastic for guidance. Reference markers on a rotation table allow the software to triangulate where they are in 3D space, while also triangulating them on the part itself. This means that when the part is in motion on the table, the software understands that it’s rotating, but thinks it’s still.

This enables extreme accuracy as 3D scanning specialists can rotate the part without moving the scanner; identifying all detailing on all surfaces. As we use markers on the side of the part, we can also flip the part once that side is complete. And once you have scans of all sides, you can then align them to very high accuracies.

Find out more

3D scanning black materials is a complicated process. But, with the right equipment and expertise, you can still attain the same quality and accuracy as any other scanned surface.

Would you like further information about what other complex matters 3D scanning can conquer? Or would you like to discuss our collection of 3D scanners for sale? Then, get in touch today via email at info@central-scanning.co.uk.

If you want to learn more about the products and services we offer, check out: The Most Affordable Artec 3D Scanners: Is it worth buying or renting?

Read more news from Central Scanning here

central scanning logo
Central Scanning
01527 558 282

Related Posts

Subscribe to our newsletter