Did you know 58.9 million people in the US will use VR in 2021? With numbers like that, it’s pretty safe to say the VR is not a fad.

There has been steady growth in the world of virtual reality, and with the technological advances being made with virtual set building, the landscape of digital production is changing. 

If you work in the world of VFX, you know how vital workflow and schedule are. With all of these new opportunities on the horizon, you need to use the tools available to you. 

Enter photogrammetry. 

To learn more about the advantages of photogrammetry, keep reading and explore the tools that will make your life much easier. 

What is Photogrammetry?

Photogrammetry is a type of 3D scanning using 2D images. It creates a detailed 3D model by taking a ton of photos from different angles to portray an object based on its geometry accurately. 

You may be wondering how 2D photos can turn into a hyper-detailed 3D model, and the answer is software. Running your pictures through a certain type of software transforms all of your photos into something new. 

To do this, you need hundreds of photos. Like pretty much anything in VFX, if you start on a shaky foundation, everything will eventually fall apart down the line, so you want to make sure you are starting off right. 

Advantages of Photogrammetry

The advantages of photogrammetry are apparent the moment you see a 3D model made from one of these scans. Due to the nature of the scan, the texture and detail are incredible, and your scans are in full color. 

Photogrammetry is also a little more accessible than traditional 3D scanning due to the nature of the process and the equipment required. You do want to make sure you know what you’re doing when you start taking your photos for the scan, though. If you miss key elements, it can cost you time and money. It’s usually best to leave the photo-taking to the professionals. 

Uses of Photogrammetry

You can use photogrammetry for a variety of reasons. From VFX workflows to 3D printing, using photogrammetry can make your life so much easier. Here are a few neat examples of how you can use photogrammetry to its full potential. 

Photomapping

You can use photogrammetry to map and scan incredibly realistic indoor and outdoor environments. To do this, you should scout out the location and take detailed measurements. Also, make a note of anything that may be an issue when you start taking your photos, like potential movement. 

If you are outdoors, using a drone to take your photogrammetry photos is a fantastic idea. A drone can help you capture large buildings and spaces with relative ease. You will have to battle the weather, though, so plan a rain date if you are doing outdoor scans. 

Once you have the scans done, you can import them into your software and are now working with incredibly detailed environments. You may need to make a couple of adjustments or fix some of the maps, but for the most part, you will have a realistic environment to work off of.

You can use these environments in VR or a VFX pipeline. 

Digital Doubles

You can use photogrammetry to create detailed digital doubles. To do this, you’ll want to take a minimum of two hundred pictures of your model’s head to get the king of detail required. You also want to make sure you have photos from all angles, even ones that may seem extreme. This will help when you eventually import the images for your scan. 

Your model should have a neutral expression and be in relatively flat lighting that does not move throughout the filming process. 

What you get once you’re done is a highly detailed, digital double that you can further sculpt, texture, and rig. 

3D Printing 

One of the really neat things photogrammetry can do is turn objects you scan into 3D models that you can then 3D print. For example, if you are looking to get a realistic 3D model of yourself or something in your home, you can use photogrammetry. 

Take all of the necessary pictures of your object, import them into the software, make any adjustments, and you can start printing. 

Pre-Production

If you are going into film production, it’s necessary to scout out locations. Having a realistic scan of the location, you will be filming in can help in so many ways. You can also use these scans if you are thinking about doing an entirely virtual production as well. 

During pre-production, a select amount of the crew will go to a location and take pictures, maybe grab the floor plans and then try to visualize how the set will look on the day of filming. 

By taking photogrammetry scans of the location, you have a 3D rendering of the location to revisit whenever you want. Photos and floor plans can’t beat that. 

Use the Latest Tech to Make Your Workflow Easier

As a VFX professional, you know how important it is to work with high-quality elements. Getting accurate texture maps and lighting can add a sense of realism you can’t get anywhere else. There are so many advantages of photogrammetry. If you want to add it to your tool kit, we don’t blame you.

Contact us for a quote on your next project, and get the 20+ years of experience Nick Tesi VFX consulting can provide.