Scanning Environments

Started by rcallicotte, February 27, 2013, 07:37:54 am

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So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?


It looks like its a service you can buy, but you cant own the software? Looks like a great software!

Big ben posted that thread about 3d scanning a while back (different soft) I really want to get back to seeing what I can do with that as time permits. If you learn anything more about the OP software, calico, please let us know.
It has been eaten.


I've been on three SVP field trips (Scotland, Utah and California) where we spent a lot of time looking at fossil trackways. Paleontologists that study them use a technique in which they take a series of still pictures that they feed to some software that generates a 3D surface. It sounds pretty interesting. The technique is called "photogrammetry" and is a sort of poor man's LIDAR. I have been thinking about trying it myself.


Look up AGI Soft on google.  You can download a free trial version.   Exactly what you're looking for.
Supervisor, Computer Graphics
D I G I T A L  D O M A I N


September 08, 2013, 11:02:47 am #4 Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 01:01:29 pm by PabloMack
The Agisoft Standard Edition is only $179. That is very tempting. Looks like you have to go through distributors to get it. The high-end seems to be PhotoModeler. But it is sort of expensive. I'm seriously considering it. PhotoModeler uses both stills and video. They can both produce polygon models.

Update: I uploaded and installed the AutoDesk free application called 123D Catch that bigben started a thread for. This is a cloud app so none of the processing is done locally. This is a bad sign. I have a Logitech HD Webcam and it came with a nice video app which was also dependent upon some sort of cloud service. When Logitech stopped offering that service the software no longer worked. I don't want to get dependent on any cloud apps for this reason as well as the security issues involved with passing your valuable material through the hands of untold faceless third parties. The uploader even requires you to add at least one key and a description, presumably for the purpose of facilitating people you've never met to browse and make use of your models. I don't care if its just a test model but I have problems with passing to the general public information for projects that have a level of secrecy attached to them.

Update: I just finished uploading my photos (17 of them). The project was a complete fail. I guess I needed a lot more photos with a smaller angle increment between. The application might also need some calibration hints to be able to make sense of the images.

Update: I finally got it to work with a small Vietnamese marble urn.


September 10, 2013, 07:20:37 pm #5 Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 07:28:23 pm by PabloMack
Quote from: gregtee on February 28, 2013, 10:08:10 am
Look up AGI Soft on google.  You can download a free trial version.   Exactly what you're looking for.

I downloaded and tried out the demo version of AgiSoft PhotoScan. I was impressed so I bought a license. It does look like it is exactly what I need and it was only $179. Thanks a bunch gregtee.

Quote from: TheBadger on February 27, 2013, 08:50:52 pm
It looks like its a service you can buy, but you cant own the software? Looks like a great software!

TheBadger: You can buy the software here:
First select Standard Edition then download the software. It even runs on MacOS. I don't know if that includes OSX. This is the full version but you can't save anything to disk unless you buy a license and enter the serial number to activate all features.


Interesting stuff. Could you post if you have some results?


September 12, 2013, 05:37:12 pm #7 Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 11:25:39 pm by PabloMack
Quote from: Dune on September 11, 2013, 03:26:06 am
Interesting stuff. Could you post if you have some results?

Yes. The results are very interesting. I did a screen print of both models that I produced with the two different packages. The pictures below are oriented in the same way for ease of direct comparison. I think AgiSoft PhotoScan proved to be superior to AutoDesk 123D Catch. 123D Catch preserved some strong reflections as you can see in the upper level quadrant of the model. Both trials used the same photographs which were taken in a pool room that has windows in the roof like a green house. The AgiSoft image seemed to do a lot more for eliminating reflections. The AgiSoft model seems to be very flat and upolished as compared to the 123D model. Of course, since you will want to be adding your own reflections coming from the environment of your choice, it is desirable to have no reflections in the surface image of the model. I was tempted to photograph this object in a soft box but I am glad that I didn't. This make-shift trial served as a better "acid test".

Since reflections are going to change for every viewing angle, PhotScan seemed to be able to realize when unusual coloration was present and did something similar to ignoring or lowering the importance of "outliers". 123D Catch seemed to weight the photo with the best oriented view more highly than the others for each part of the image without regard for unusual coloration. I am pleased that the local computing solution won out over the cloud computing system. And I am glad that the Russians have joined us in the cooperative cybercommunity. This is my first purchase of a Russian software product. Their manuals are well written but the lady narrating their tutorials is a bit difficult to understand. She needs to learn how to use her microphone to avoid air burst pops when pronouncing words with the letter "P".


Pablo it depends on many things probably but the model i got in AgiSoft demo had many unneeded polygons.
In 123D Catch there weren't any. I used the same photos.
Just saying. This was my first try and maybe there are some fine tuning needed anyway.

If you have time i would like to hear more test result from you about Agisoft,
because i don't like Autodesk so much and would prefer a software like Agisoft.
It is not so expensive anyway .
When i looked at my account on the AutoDesk 123D Catch web page , the photos i used and the files were there.
I don't like that. Since then i don't use it.


September 12, 2013, 11:58:06 pm #9 Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 12:06:01 am by PabloMack
Both of the apps created a fair amount of geometry from the table cloth which is a pale orange. I had edited some of that away in the 123D Catch model and that's why you don't see it. I didn't do that for the AgiSoft model. Also, both had created some anomalous geometry along the bottom of the vase above the base which you can see in the photos. It seemed to be worse in the 123D model so AgiSoft did better there too. There were a lot of stray points all around the model created with AgiSoft after doing an "align photos" operation which generates the point cloud. These I edited away before doing the model generation. The point cloud editing takes a little getting used to but it works well. This probably spared me from some unwanted geometry. What you can do with the 123D Catch software to guide the process is more limited as it is done offsite in their cloud. The AgiSoft app does things in three steps and allows you to save the project along with intermediate data (the demo version won't save), do some editing and then retry a subsequent step again. AgiSoft had my poly count set to 200,000 which is quite high so I lowered it in another attempt. The editing of the point cloud and lowering the poly count before generating the model might solve your problem with generating unwanted polys. It also has a masking feature which will prevent it from generating these stray points. But you have to do it with each photograph (and you might have a lot of them) and this can be quite labor intensive. I haven't used this feature. It is probably more necessary to use when you have a lot of detail in the background and you are doing a 360 degree scan of an object. You may not need this when digitizing landscapes.

One thing I found very frustrating with 123D Catch is the matching of landmark features between photos. It numbers the points for you and I couldn't find a way to change the point numbers to match points assigned earlier. I just kept deleting them all and starting over. Then it wouldn't even present all of the photo options to let me tell the software where all of the corresponding points were. I got tired of fighting with it then started to look at AgiSoft. I really like it a lot better.

I would like to do another test project with an environment instead of a model. I'll plan to post my results here so you can read it. I have to say that I was apprehensive about buying something from a Russian site. I get so many scam emails coming out of Russia that I didn't want to give them my credit card information. But AgiSoft accepts payment from PayPal so that's what helped me decide to go ahead and buy it. They have a nice forum like this one that I have already posted to.


Thanks Pablo for the detailed answer.
I did not used it in that way but i think this kind of software might be better or easier to use with environments .
I will wait curiously for your future post with Agisofts projects .


September 13, 2013, 12:25:56 am #11 Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 12:28:52 am by Kadri

I made the 123D Catch AT-AT test public.

If i had used a row of photos that catches the model from underneath too it would be much better probably.

PS: If you haven used that webpage, click that "3D view" cubic icon to see the model directly in your web browser in 3D.


Thanks for posting all your information, PabloMack. I'm sure an environment scan would provide better results as small artifacts will hardly be noticable. I think though, that things like rivers and windows will add another problem. And you get all the trees with it, which will add a lot of polys, and they won't be very nice (I think). Good for distant/overall views but not for close ups, I'd say.
Looking forward to more tests. You should take a plane and circle some interesting area....


September 13, 2013, 08:31:30 am #13 Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 08:38:06 am by PabloMack
Kadri, your model is supurb. I would think that it was an injection-moulded model that you bought from the store. Are you sure you aren't just pulling my leg?  ;)

I live in Houston, Texas which is really boring geologically. But my wife and I are going to California in a few weeks to attend the SVP meetings and will be taking a week or so for nature watching and some photography. I'm planning to take some test shots there.


September 13, 2013, 09:15:55 am #14 Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 09:21:46 am by Kadri

Thanks Pablo :) That model came out better then i thought .
Working on the images earlier (maybe some noise reduction etc)
and more suitable backgrounds for objects could make the output better probably.
It was the cloud approach from Autodesk that throw me away.
I am seriously considering Agisoft for a project if needed Pablo.
Depends on you too ;)

This came just to my mind:,16755.0.html