We’ve been experimenting with 3D image scanning (photogrammetry) in our motion capture suite. Widely used in many industries including architecture and games, it enables artists to create detailed 3D models of an object or environment from a series of photographs. This helps improve accuracy and speeds up workflow of creating detailed meshes.
Photogrammetry has a long history in video games, capturing realistic environment and character details for video game design. In 3D, photogrammetry is used when materials and details need to be captured accurately. It’s a relatively straightforward process where you take photographs of the physical object to then convert into a 3D object. The 3D object created will then provide a highly accurate model used in a video or animation, or a reference from which a simpler, user friendly mesh can be created to animate and deform accurately.
There are an abundance of software tools you can use. We’ve been using Agisoft Photoscan, and refining our process to efficiently and accurately make use of the software. Through R&D, we’ve designed the optimum scenarios for taking photographs and processing them. We used our green screen and lighting setup to produce soft and evenly lit objects. Creating an alpha channel provides better results, which we achieved with preparing a backdrop that can be easily keyed. With the camera fixed on a tripod, we designed a turntable setup with a pulley system and rotated the object. This system generates stable and consistent images for the software to interpret. Adjusting parameters in the software enabled us to optimise the number of photographs required (usually around 250 images), and significantly reduce the time to process and generate the 3d model in the software.
What does the future look like?
Photogrammetry is a very useful tool for us at nymbl. We’ve used it for project that had intricate details to be captured, as well as a quick and easy method to produce 3d models for use in 3d product animations and interactive extended reality and virtual reality experiences.