The Cake Is A Cave
Photogrammetry Reveals Secret Landscapes
I’ve recently become fascinated by Photogrammetry, a technique used to 3D scan objects by combining a series of pictures taken from different angles. I haven’t created my own models yet, but I did spend hours browsing Sketchfab, marveling at the faithfully captured details of the most unlikely objects, such as a rusty clamp or an old shoe. It’s funny how the most mundane things become fascinating once they are virtualized.
There’s only so much resolution you can squeeze out of even a few dozen pictures however. On closer inspection, the illusion breaks and the models reveal their glitchy beauty. Zoom in a bit more and you clip through the surface, entering a concave world.
The experience will be familiar to many (gamers and CGI artists in particular). However, the realism of photogrammetry adds an uncanny quality to the experience that human-designed models don’t have. Below are a few screenshots from my last expedition through the Sketchfab catalogue. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.
Click on the links in the captions to view the original 3D models. Thanks to the authors of the scans for their wonderful work.
Note: If you want to create your own models, 123D Catch —a free app from Autodesk— gives decent results. Serious photographers will want to use a good camera and dedicated software like Agisoft Photoscan. There are also open source options if that’s what you’re into.
Addendum (13.11.2016): Here’s a great list of practical tips for photogrammetry.