Examples of Automatic 3D reconstructions from photographs

Examples by Paul Bourke
March 2012

Also: As an example of navigable 3D models in an iBook


Automatic 3D model creation from a series of photographs has been an active area of research for many years. The techniques would appear to be maturing, this is reflected in a number of stable software tools. Some examples are presented here in an attempt to illustrate the current state of the art, full OBJ meshes and textures are provided for each example. The examples presented are all from projects in early 2012.

A number of the current software tools have been evaluated, the main ones being 123D Catch (Autodesk), PhotoScan (Agisoft), Photomodeller, Bundler, Visual SFM, and Photosynth (Microsoft). Note that the last two are based upon the opensource tool Bundler. These packages are classified broadly as photogrammetry and more recently as SFM, Structure from Motion.

The interest here is to evaluate the techniques as a way of creating assets for virtual environments, in this case high mesh accuracy is not necessarly required, the apparent detail is conveyed in the textures. Of course there are other applications where geometric detail is important and the exploration here seeks to evaluate that possibility, for example, capturing sufficient geometry to form a useful research and archive of the 3D object in question.

The following three examples illustrate convex relief and engravings, in these cases all from Indian temples in the region around Manipal (South-West).

1000 pillar relief, India
Obj file and textures
View in browser (20,000 triangles, 4Kx2K texture)

Chaturmukha Relief, India
Obj file and textures
View in browser (30,000 triangles, 4Kx2K texture)

Gommateswara relief, India
Obj file and textures
View in browser (10,000 triangles, 4Kx2K texture)

The next example is similar except the depth of the engraving is less and the size is such that a series of three sets of photographs are required to capture the whole length, about 4m long.

Engraving, UWA
Obj file and textures

While the above examples are essentially height maps, the following illustrate more complete 3D models. These are photographed from every side, typically around 20 photographs for each example.

Aphrodite, UWA
Obj file and textures
View in browser (30,000 triangles, 4Kx4K texture)

Socrates statue, UWA
Obj file and textures

Rock outside geology, UWA
Obj file and textures

Since the algorithm needs to find matching feature points the following worked surprisingly well given the uniformity and noisiness of the colour.

Rock Art, site in the Pilbara, West Australia
Obj file and textures
View in browser (30,000 triangles, 4Kx2K texture)

Obj file and textures
View in browser (20,000 triangles, 4Kx2K texture)

Indonesia
Obj file and textures

Obj file and textures

Obj file and textures

References

  • Barazzetti, L., Scaioni, M. and Remondino, F. (2010), Orientation and 3D modelling from markerless terrestrial images: combining accuracy with automation. The Photogrammetric Record, 25: 356-381. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-9730.2010.00599.x

  • Percoco, G. (2011), Digital close range photogrammetry for 3D body scanning for custom-made garments. The Photogrammetric Record, 26: 73-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-9730.2010.00605.x

  • Remondino, F., Rizzi, A., Girardi, S., Petti, F. M. and Avanzini, M. (2010), 3D Technology—recovering digital 3D models of dinosaur footprints. The Photogrammetric Record, 25: 266-282. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-9730.2010.00587.x

  • Bill Jeffery. (2006), From Seabed to Computer Screen - digital mapping of submerged and shipwreck sites. Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, 23:86-94

  • Bryan, P. G. and Clowes, M. (1997), Surveying Stonehenge By Photogrammetry. The Photogrammetric Record, 15: 739-751. doi: 10.1111/0031-868X.00082