FAQ

Can I use a phone or a compact camera?

Yes, as long as the device can save photos in RAW format and can be set to use manual exposure and manual flash power. However, Shimmer Views scanned using a DSLR or mirrorless are usually higher quality than scans taken using a phone or compact camera.

Which lens should I use?

We recommend using a prime lens, which is a lens that has a fixed focal length (no zoom). This avoids the chance that the zoom might change during scanning, and typically gives higher quality photos. Good focal lengths to use with a full-frame camera are 50 mm or 85 mm. However, if you only have access to zoom lenses, you can still scan. Just be careful to avoid changing the zoom during the scan.

Do I have to use RAW format?

Yes, RAW format is essential. Our algorithms depend on having unprocessed RAW input images to accurately measure how light interacts with your material.

Can I use a different ISO (instead of ISO 100)?

We recommend using the "base ISO" of your camera which has the best dynamic range and least noise.

Why do you recommend using such a narrow aperture, such as f/22?

We need the flash to be the strongest light source for the photos in the scan. Setting the aperture to f/22 and the ISO to 100 means the flash will usually dominate any ambient lighting. You can check this by taking a photo with the same manual exposure settings but with the flash switched off. If the settings are correct, then the photo should be completely dark when the flash is switched off. Switch it back on to do the scan.

Setting the aperture to f/22 also gives a large depth of field. This means all of the material and the chart is in focus for every photo in the scan, even when you move the camera down to take photos from different angles.

What type of flash should I use?

We recommend using an external flash, such as a Nikon Speedlight, a Canon Speedlite, or any similar flash from other camera companies and third party suppliers.

The flash should be attached to the camera hot-shoe and should illuminate the material from above the lens. Avoid using a ring flash.

Can you tell me more about what flash power to use?

Different flash units have different strengths and some materials are shinier than others, so the best flash power might be different for each scan. The goal of the flash power setting is to make it low enough so that no pixels in the photo exceed the maximum value. This avoids intensity clipping or saturation.

You can take a test photo, and use the camera histogram to check that it goes to zero before the end of the range. On the other hand, if the histogram falls to zero within the first half of the range, you have room to increase the flash power and get a better result.

Why doesn't my flash fire (when I set the shutter speed to 1/200)?

You may need to check which flash sync speeds your camera and flash support. Use the fastest supported shutter speed. For example, sometimes the fastest flash sync speed is 1/125 s.

My Shimmer View looks over-exposed no matter how I adjust it in the editor. What went wrong?

Your photos may have been over-exposed. We recommend lowering the flash power and scanning again.

What chart sizes are available?

We have a range of chart sizes:

Chart size Scan width x height DPI with 30 Mpx camera Download
A5 162 x 94 mm 643 A5 Bandicoot chart
A4 229 x 134 mm 454 A4 Bandicoot chart
A3 324 x 190 mm 321 A3 Bandicoot chart
A2 458 x 268 mm 227 A2 Bandicoot chart
A1 648 x 379 mm 160 A1 Bandicoot chart

You can print your own chart by following our scanning guide, or contact us if you'd like us to mail a chart out to you.

What texture formats do you support?

Shimmer Scan and Shimmer View are based on a physically-based rendering (PBR) workflow and our textures can be imported into many tools used for 3D fashion design, 3D graphics and visual effects.

You can download a PBR texture pack using Publish > Download when viewing your material in the Bandicoot web app.

The PNG images inside the ZIP download have suffixes indicating the texture channel:

Filename suffix Channel name Data range
AO Ambient occlusion Linear greyscale data, 0 to 1 range
Displacement Height map Linear greyscale data, nominal -0.5 to 0.5 range, height scale mapping 1 unit to metres is the displacementUnits value in render.json
Metallic_metal Metallic Linear greyscale data, 0 to 1 range
Normal Normal map Linear data, 3 channel, unit vectors in XYZ object space, DirectX convention, scaled to 0 to 1 range, with 0.5 being zero-length component
Roughness Specular roughness Linear data, 0 to 1 range
srgb_Color Basecolor sRGB

The DPI for each texture is set in the EXIF metadata.

The ZIP download also contains:

  • Render.png - a sample rendered image of the texture
  • render.json - scan metadata

Please contact us if you'd like a different texture format.

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