Getting Started with Canvas

We're excited for you to start scanning! 3D scanning is a brand new frontier for most people, so we've created this Getting Started with Canvas guide to:

  1. Put everything you need to know about getting started with Canvas in one easy-to-follow place
  2. Give a clear, step-by-step set of instructions for new customers to go from "zero" to a successful first 3D scan
  3. Provide helpful tips to short-circuit the most common problems we see when new customers take Canvas out into the field for the first time

Important Note #1: This guide is definitely longer than it needs to be, but it is on purpose so that we can address as many common questions as possible, in as much detail as possible. You will likely be able to blow through many steps very fast.

Important Note #2: For the purpose of brevity, we are going to assume that you are already familiar with our pricing, expected accuracy tolerances, and other general information about Canvas. If not, please check out our Help Center first. We are also assuming that you have already purchased whichever hardware you will be using with Canvas. 

Important Note #3: If you are using a Structure Sensor, Mark II, or Total Set-Up Package, please see set-up instructions here.

Important Note #4:  If you have any questions or concerns, simply email There are real humans on the other side standing by to assist, and we're used to on-boarding people of all levels of technical proficiency.

Before Getting Started

If there is a single piece of advice for you to take away from Getting Started with Canvas, it's this: try to run through this entire set up process one week before you intend to take Canvas on a client visit. 

Allowing for a 1-week buffer means that you'll have time to do a practice scan, get your CAD files back, ask questions, and for us to give you feedback on scanning technique (if any is required). We recommend reaching out to us for feedback prior to submitting your first practice order so that we can offer any necessary tips prior to making payment for a Scan To CAD order. This is not a hard and fast rule, and we always do our best to accommodate urgent timelines, but it will generally lead to the easiest, most stress-free results.

Step 0: Set Up Your iPad or iPhone

Before doing anything with Canvas, you'll need to make sure your iPad or iPhone is set up. You can find Apple's iPad setup instructions here:  Set Up Your iPhone, iPad, or iPhone Touch. As part of this process, you will need to either create or sign in to your Apple ID. 

You can find a list of compatible iPads and iPhones here.

Step 1: Download Canvas App

Step 1 is simply downloading the Canvas app! You can find both app download links below:

Canvas for iPad (find it on the App Store under "Canvas: 3D Room Scanner for iPad")

Canvas for iPhone (find it on the App Store under "Canvas: Pocket 3D Room Scanner")

Step 2: Start Scanning with Canvas 

Now we're getting to the fun part!

Canvas makes capturing a 3D model of a room delightfully easy. It feels a little bit like "painting" a room with your iPad or iPhone, but there are a few important tips to keep in mind. We've created this tutorial video to guide you on the ideal scanning technique for most rooms, and we highly recommend watching it before you start scanning.

iPad Tutorial: Tutorial: How to scan a room with Canvas

iPhone Tutorial: Tutorial: 3D Scanning with Canvas for iPhone

Finally, it's time to create your first scan! You can skip to iPad instructions or iPhone instructions, or scroll down to continue.


  1. Launch the Canvas app
  2. Walk through the onboarding screens and tap "I'm ready" (if you haven't done so already)
  3. Create an account (optional) - you can also create an account later from the menu in the sidebar
  4. Name your first home (you can also create new homes in the future from the menu in the sidebar
  5. Tap the + sign and start your scan — remember to follow the best practices in our tutorial

Congratulations! You have completed your first scan. The results should look something like this:


  1. Launch the Canvas app
  2. Review the introductory info and tap “Get Started”
  3. Create an account (optional) - “Account” sign up or log in is available later via settings
  4. Stand roughly in the center of the room, or wherever will help you scan the most area in a 5m radius.
  5. Tap the + sign and get ready to start a new scan
  6. Using the best practices guide in the video scan the room
  7. Once you close the loop, tap “Done” to complete your scan which will reprocess and colorize right after.

Congratulations! You have completed your first scan. The results should look something like this:

If it doesn't, or you just want an expert to reassure you that you did everything correctly, email us at We'll tell you how to submit a scan for review, and we'll coach you on any issues we spot so that they're caught before you take Canvas to a customer site. This is a free service we offer all first-time Canvas customers, as it will save us both time later!

Step 3: Beyond Your Scan — Review, Measurement, and Scan To CAD

Your 3D model is saved on your iPad or iPhone, so you can go back and revisit any space, at any time. Whether you just need to refresh your memory of a given viewpoint or capture a forgotten measurement, you're never more than a few taps away. To extract a measurement from the space, simply open the scan and tap the "Measure" button. 

You can also share the scan as a .obj file via email or Airdrop. This feature is not currently available on the iPhone, but you can still extract the scans using File Sharing with iTunes for PC or Finder for Mac.

However, the real power in Canvas for many customers comes from the "Scan To CAD" service. With Scan To CAD, you simply upload your 3D scan, and within approximately two business days you'll get back an editable, professional-grade CAD file in industry-standard formats (more on this here). 

This service is available starting at $0.10/sqft, and it is what really allows you to "skip ahead" to the fun part: design! You can learn more about Scan To CAD here, or see a sample output below.

You can also just reprocess your scan if you want to colorize and enhance them, but don't want to place a full Scan To CAD order.

Finally, many of our customers are interested in capturing whole homes and getting a single, global model (as opposed to several rooms). This is a very common use of Canvas, and all you need to do is tap is confirm you want to merge scans during checkout, and you will receive a global model of the home or space.

For more information on merging scans, please read:  Can I merge multiple scans to cover an entire property?

Step 4: Integrating Canvas Into Your Business

Every customer is different, but the most common "ramp-up" we see from our customers is:

  1. Scan a room in your own house
  2. Upload the scan for a free review (just ask at!)
  3. Order your desired 2D or 3D format
  4. Review the results in your CAD/BIM software of choice (and ask any questions that come up)
  5. Take Canvas to the job site and "shadow" the existing process (i.e., scan it as well as measure the old-fashioned way)
  6. Review the results in your CAD/BIM software of choice (and ask any questions that come up)
  7. Depending on your use case, either fully replace the existing process with Canvas or develop some hybrid

At this point, everyone's workflow becomes different. Some customers train a junior employee or assistant on how to scan so that they can spend more time with their client, whereas others prefer to (or have to) own the process from beginning to end. With the time saved with Canvas, some customers choose to take on more projects at once, whereas others simply accelerate their existing projects. Finally, some customers take their 3D model all the way through design, final visualization and even construction (modifying the same file along the way), whereas for others the model is the end-goal in it of itself.

If you have questions about how Canvas can be applied to your specific use case, just reach out to If it has to do with the home, we've almost definitely seen someone use Canvas for a similar job, and we're always happy to trade notes on what we've seen work well as well as what tends not to work well. 

Lastly, every space is different, so as you encounter new kinds of environments to capture, it's totally normal to have additional questions. As always, we're standing by to help at

Step 5: Final Steps and Additional Reading

That's all! You're ready to conquer the world, one 3D scanned home at a time. 

If you're still in a reading mood, these are a few common additional resources we share with new customers.

  1. I'm totally new to 3D. Do you offer any training in design programs that pair well with Canvas?
  2. Case study with Lotus Construction Group
  3. Case study with Noz Design
  4. About 3D Scanning
  5. Interview with SketchUp
  6. Interview with IvyMark
  7. This Old House TV Segment