Photogrammetry is the practice of constructing 3 dimensional objects from 2 dimensional images. For example: taking still pictures of a statue to construct a 3D object. Until recently, this process required skill and technology outside most users reach. But with the increasing power of consumer computers and the creation of new software, the process is easier than ever.
This guide will walk you through the steps of using Meshroom to construct a 3D object, and then import that object into Blender, a program used for 3D animation.
Before you start, you'll need a few things ...
You will need a digital camera for taking pictures of the object. While a high quality digital camera would be good if you are taking photos of a statue or other large object outside, most cell phone cameras are high enough quality that they will work fine.
For this project, I will be using my cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy A20.
The software we will be using to compile the 3D information, Meshroom, requires an NVIDIA Graphics Card. This type of graphics card can be found in many Gaming Desktop and Laptop computers. Lower-end computers like Netbooks, Chrombooks, and energy efficient computers probably do not have an NVIDIA Graphics Card.
While some pieces of this software will work on macOS and Linux, this guide will focus on using this software on Windows.
If you do not have an NVIDIA graphics card, Meshroom does have an experiential Draft Meshing setting, but objects created with it might be of lower quality.
To check what kind of video card you have in Windows, follow these steps:
This is the software that will do the heavy work of constructing a 3D Object from our photographs. Meshroom is free, open source software that relies on the AliceVision Photogrammetric Computer Vision framework. Meshroom is available for Windows and Linux. You can download Meshroom from: https://alicevision.org/#meshroom
After scanning, we'll need to clean up the model. To do this, we'll use Autodesk Meshmixer. Meshmixer is free software great for prepping models for 3D printing. Meshmixer is available for Windows and macOS. You can download Meshmixer from: http://www.meshmixer.com/download.html