Photos->3D Models?
February 24, 2008 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Photographs → 3D Model of Landscape? I've seen software demos of 3D information extrapolated from photographs — so how can I use this tech to map my house-on-a-hillside into a relatively accurate Sketchup 3D model?

Problem being, I'm unaware of any software I can purchase, nor sites where I can submit photos and receive back models.

It'd be a jillion times easier than doing a traditional survey.
posted by five fresh fish to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So here is what you are looking for but beware: using this is pretty involved and you really need to know what you are doing.
posted by the_dude at 5:48 PM on February 24, 2008

I'm a little confused by your question so I'll just answer it the way it makes sense to me! In the latest Skechup you can match your 3D model to a photograph. You can either import a photograph of your house on your hillside and then sketch your house from that and get a fairly accurate 3D representation of your house in front of the image. Or, you can import the photo into the background of your existing 3D model and match the model to it. There are tutorials -- it takes a bit of time and perseverance but you can do it.

You can also put your 3D model into GoogleEarth and take snapshots of it or use it to get an accurate location for your house. Tutorials out there for how to do that as well.

If you have GIS data for the terrain you can import that and create a terrain using the sandbox tool. If you just have a map, you can scan that in and then manually create the terrain (often easier). Then you can take the a snapshot from GoogleEarth and drape that image over your terrain. All sorts of stuff can be accomplished with GoogleEarth and Sketchup now.
posted by amanda at 5:52 PM on February 24, 2008

Oooh, that's cool, the_dude.
posted by amanda at 5:53 PM on February 24, 2008

Not sure if this will be helpful, but its related -
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:47 PM on February 24, 2008

Response by poster: Basic idea: take photographs from two or three locations. Software analyses images and determines where the edges and corners of my house are, as well as notable points on the terrain. This can easily yield a reasonably accurate model of the terrain and house. Using tape measure, I can tweak the house dimensions to be accurate; and the terrain will be close enough in all likelyhood.

I've seen several tech demos where they use photos from random tourists to recreate landmark buildings. Can't see why it shouldn't be available to me by now!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on February 24, 2008

Is this what you're talking about, five fresh fish?
posted by amanda at 8:58 AM on February 25, 2008

Response by poster: That would probably deal with modeling the house well enough (though I'd be just as tempted to do it using the traditional tape measure; I'm anal enough to want 1/4" accuracy).

It's modeling the terrain that's the stumper. And come to think of it, I'm not sure that has been mastered by software yet: buildings are easy, what with the unnaturally straight lines and right angles -- but the "soft form" of the ground might be a lot more difficult. Might have to place flags at key points to give the software something to work from.

I'm kinda bummed by this. It really should be child's play to take three photographs (and three measurements to a fixed point) and get an accurate model of everything in the scene.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on February 25, 2008

Response by poster: This isn't going to work nearly as well as stereoscopic interpretation, but it might be fun: Make3D.

Between this ability to interpolate from things like the texture of grass to calculate distance, I should think two photographs and no measurements should result in a damn decent 3D model.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:15 PM on March 18, 2008

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