How to scan

Scanning a material involves photographing the material from different angles using a Bandicoot chart and a handheld camera with a flash.

Shimmer views work on a wide range of materials. Have a look through our gallery for inspiration. But there are some limitations:

  • The overall shape should be mostly flat so the chart can lay over it, but can be gently curved or have small variations in height. Avoid complicated surface shapes with large steps or thin features like fur or spikes.
  • Materials which work well include: organic materials like leather, woven textures like cloth, or surfaces with coloured patterns. Results may vary on plain or featureless materials.
  • You can scan materials which are shiny or have metallic highlights, but large mirror-like regions or sequins don't work so well. Materials which are see-through, or which emit their own light won't work.

Print a Bandicoot chart

You can make your own Bandicoot chart in a few minutes. Start by downloading a Bandicoot chart (we recommend starting with an A4 size chart):


  1. Open the document in any PDF viewer
  2. In the print settings, choose "High quality" and "borderless" settings
  3. Print!
  4. Cut out the large grey rectangular area from the centre of the chart

Your new Bandicoot chart is now ready to use.

Tips for printing:

  • Use heavier paper stock if you have it (standard office paper works OK too)
  • Use white matte paper (avoid glossy paper)

Set up your camera

The only photo equipment you need to scan a material is a camera with a flash. A DSLR or mirrorless camera gives best results.

Here's how to set your camera up for taking a Bandicoot scan.

Camera settings:

  • Exposure: Manual (M)
  • Aperture (Av): f/16
  • Shutter speed (Tv): 1/200 s
  • ISO: 100
  • Photo format: RAW
  • White balance: Flash

Flash settings:

  • Flash power: Manual (M) 1/32


  • Keep the same camera, zoom and flash settings for all of the photos in a scan.

Take photos of your material

With chart in hand and camera set up, you're ready to scan your material.

Start by placing your material to be scanned on the floor or a low surface like a stool. Place the chart on top of the material. The part of the material visible inside the chart will appear in your Shimmer View. You'll want a metre or two of clear space around the chart on all sides so that you can move around and take photos.

Then, take 25 flash photos of the material and chart from a range of different angles:

  • One photo from directly above
  • A ring of 8 photos in a small inner circle
  • Another ring of 8 photos in a medium circle
  • A final ring of 8 photos in a large outer circle


  • The material and chart have to stay completely still during the scan. Try not to bump it, you'll have to start again!
  • Frame each photo so the chart almost fills the frame but isn't cut off.
  • Avoid direct sunlight when taking the scan. A room with normal or dim room lighting is best.
  • Only take photos within an angle of about 45 degrees from vertical.
  • Try not to take repeated photos from the same angle.
  • If you accidentally take an out-of-focus or out-of-frame photo, you can just delete it.

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