We developed a custom iPad app for the University of Virginia Art Museum (UVaM) that contains 360 spins of twenty sculptures and ceramics, like the rhyton shown in the photograph above. Although our setup included a high-end turntable and a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera, it’s important to stress that you can capture very good spins with a far simpler setup. The same basic principles and editing techniques described in this post would work fine with one of the turntables we sell on our website.


Arqspin takes an image-based approach to 3D modeling. The appearance of a 3D object is represented as a set of images recorded from viewpoints spaced uniformly around a circle centered on the turntable’s axis of rotation. Spin credit: Mr. Kevin Hurd.

What is “3D”?

Some of the press we’ve received (including some of our own marketing materials) use the term “3D” to describe the datasets that Arqspin produces. We thought this would be a good forum to explain the underlying theory behind how our technology works and give you our rationale for using this term. We agree that the term “3D” can be misleading given its common interpretation, but we’ll let you decide if what we’re doing is “really 3D” after considering some history and theory.


Normally, a Spin is an “outside-in” type of visualization in that the user is looking AT an object from some position that lies on a perfect circle around the object. However, the opposite is also possible. The user can look at the outside circle from the middle of it.

In fact, many of you have asked us about what happens when you place your iPhone on the rotation stage and take a Spin of a location instead of an object. Well, you get a slightly different type of panoramic picture. It is not an immersive experience like a standard panorama, but it is something different because there is a change-of-space-and-time aspect to it. Here is an example of one such Spin that I took when I visited the top of Mt. Etna in Sicily a few weeks ago:

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