Epic Games’ new app lets users make virtual realities


Epic Games has released a new app that lets users create 3D renderings of everyday objects.

Courtesy of Epic Games

Cary’s Epic Games, the juggernaut behind Fortnite and Rocket League, has developed a new 3D scanning app that turns smartphone photos into virtual realities.

RealityScan captures complicated photogrammetry — the science of rendering three dimensional models from two-dimensional imagery — in a free and user-friendly app, according to Epic.

The app is a simplified version of Epic’s RealityCapture, a professional-tier program that reconstructs objects and scenes from images or laser scans.

“Capturing real-world assets for digital experiences has traditionally been complicated, technical and labor-intensive,” the company said in a press release, “but now it’s as simple as unlocking your smartphone.”

RealityScan, released Monday, is available as a limited, beta product for 10,000 users. The app is available via TestFlight on a first-come, first-served basis. A wider release for iOS will launch sometime in spring, the company said, followed by an Android version later this year.

“RealityScan is the first step on our journey to make 3D scanning available to all creators,” Michal Jancosek, co-founder of Capturing Reality, said in a press release. The Epic Games subsidiary is behind development of RealityCapture and RealityScan.

“We believe that this tool will greatly help people of all skill sets to better understand basic scanning principles, bridging the gap between beginners and professionals,” Jancosek said. “We’re excited to develop the app with feedback from the community and to introduce new features as we approach the full release.”

RealityScan is part of Epic’s wider mission to expand the metaverse — a network of digital spaces where users can interact in virtual reality.

Some VR visionaries, such as Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, predict the metaverse will succeed the internet as the primary platform for remote interactions. Curated content and social media monetization will give way to a more traditional marketplace, Sweeney says.

“A carmaker who wants to make a presence in the metaverse isn’t going to run ads,” he told The Washington Post in September. “They’re going to drop their car into the world in real time and you’ll be able to drive it around. And they’re going to work with lots of content creators with different experiences to ensure their car is playable here and there, and that it’s receiving the attention it deserves.”

The metaverse is still in its infancy, but prominent companies around the world are compiling billions of dollars for its development. In October, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, in part to emphasize the company’s commitment to the metaverse.

Earlier last year, Epic announced completion of a $1 billion funding round to support its long-term aspirations for the metaverse.

This story was originally published April 6, 2022 11:05 AM.

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Lars Dolder is a business reporter at The News & Observer. He covers retail, technology and innovation.





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