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 is the size of the scannable area?

It's about 253 x 158 mm.

Can I scan a size other than A4?

A range of other scan sizes are available. Please contact us and we can help.

Are you able to provide my Shimmer Views in different texture formats?

Shimmer View is 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. Please contact us for more details.

Upgrade your materials to digital today