Exploring Photogrammetry

This was given as a quick 6 minute talk on Tuesday 10th February as part of the 2015 Pause Fest, Media Lab Melbourne, HappenSpace Side Event.

Mark Payne
May 5, 2015 · 6 min read

The idea behind this talk was to introduce people to the concept of photogrammetry not as a way of mapping landscapes & scanning in items for games assets, more that it can be part of the artistic process, a digital brush to acquire the real world for remixing. This talk was focused on the work I'd done from Feb 2014 — Feb 2015.

Blenders lane scanned in using asus xtion live pro & then remixed in a 3d software.

In February 2014 I had a self motivated art project which was to scan in laneways of Melbourne using a kinect clone the ASUS xtion live pro, it was ok, but it was cumbersome and took almost half an hour to process the data on my laptop. Sitting in a darkened urine smelling laneway on a cold Melbourne evening was the pitts. So the project didn't go as quick as I'd hoped and I got a bit down heartened.


Randomly I went to a 3D printing expo and came across two dudes near a computer with a point cloud of a house on the screen. I grabbed the mouse and before my eyes this house moved, I could see all the dimensions. When I asked one of them how it was done. He said it was done using a series of photos from a SLR. “FROM PHOTOS!” I was totally blown away, he then told me the software was Agisoft PhotoScan which comes as a free trial, so I downloaded it & couldn't wait to go out and take some photos to stick into the software.

Point cloud of a Melbourne laneway that crashed my macbook pro

So I went and took almost 96 high resolution on my nikon 16 megapixel camera, went home and started the process of extruding the geometry, the first phase of just finding the dots took hours, the second phase of building a point cloud of depth data actually caused my laptop to overheat and restart. I got very disheartened, this is rubbish why would anyone do this. So I kinda put it on the backburner.

The gate that got me hooked

One day I was walking home from work and came across this gate, it was kinda cool & I thought I'd take some photos maybe I could turn it into 3d. Got home, within minutes it was looking awesome posted it on instagram & everyone else was like awesome which gave me hope to keep going.

I got excited and started scanning in buildings and stairwells and remixing them in various ways and configurations, I loved the idea of remixing the city into other configurations.

When I was near the Treasury building in Melbourne I took some photos around a statue, I didn't give it much thought because I was obsessed with buildings. When I began processing the statue immediately from phase one I could see the insane amount of detail that was possible to extract.

Then went on to play with those statues as I was beginning to learn a new 3D software package, the bits of the scan that I couldn't figure out how to resolve caused me to find a way to hide the imperfections so I covered everything in this exploded stuff which I just call my “digital glitter”.

More and more statues and the resolution started going through the roof, the detail had in the 3d models, every nook and cranny was included.

I then tried to scan in my boyfriend who was not a statue, while it worked to some extent, he moved his head ever so slightly (everyone does) which caused part of his face to look like it was hit with a mallet. I later scanned in a statue of Hercules and stuck it ontop of him, not sure which one I like best.

I was hooked on this process and addicted to statues. Then I found at the Melbourne Uni, in their garden a statue which I almost didn’t scan because from a certain angel she didn’t look that good, when I got home I was blown away with the mood I was able to create by shifting light around this statue. Giving it a new lease of life a new emotion that other wise would never have existed before.

I then took to galleries and scanned in fine art, galleries caused so many glitches as their backgrounds were all over the shop, the lighting so poor. But I embraced the glitches that were created and used them to my advantage.

By the end of 2014 I had amassed a collection of 3D objects all taken from the real world through the process of Photogrammetry. This is almost a year book photo of all those things.

Exploded Phar Lap

I then went into the Museum of Melbourne and attempted to scan in Phar Lap. The glitches were amazing.

I also photographed a tiny skull head about 5 cm’s in size and used it to create an underwater creature.

I also decided to try to get a highly detailed model of my mannequin head ‘Ivy’ (View in 3D)

Remixed Nature

I then went on walks and photographed scenes in nature, it created an eerie world when I moved those into 3D and had them hover about a fake digital studio floor.

On one of those walks I picked up a rock and created one of the most detailed 3D meshes ever with a 5 million polygon count at it’s highest state. I then went on to create a little animation of this rock including my deformed 3D boyfriend (you can view that animation here)

Gallery statue, 3d Model & 3d Print

I've also recently attempted to 3d Print some of the scans, which while I’m happy with the results I’m not sure I’m about making objects as I am making stills & animations.

So what’s next, well I'm going to be having an exhibition at the Brunswick street gallery on the 20th of March showcasing some of the work I’ve been doing (it’s already happened obviously, it was fantastic, take a look at some photos)

What’s really next now, I’m still doing photogrammetry as my primary way of doing digital art, you can follow the progress at http://metredux.tumblr.com/ — Follow my instagram as im constantly posting new items up there.

Thanks, if you have any questions or like to know more you can find me on twitter @mimobase , have a great day!☺

Mark Payne

Written by

Artist/Designer concerned for Australia’s first peoples, GLBTI rights, gender equality & the 3rd world. Check out my new project -> theghostsofstrangers.com

Mark Payne

Written by

Artist/Designer concerned for Australia’s first peoples, GLBTI rights, gender equality & the 3rd world. Check out my new project -> theghostsofstrangers.com

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