3D Physical Model from Pictures?

OK. First off, I know nothing about the ins and outs of models, past
the aircraft carrier I put together at 15 and more recently, my kids
Hot Wheels, etc. But I think I'm quite good with various art projects
and this looked like the right group to pose this question.
I've been thinking for quite a while about making a physical model of
a particular building, or a portion thereof, for an arts competition.
I want it to be something unique and have it stand out over and above
the rest of the entries. I'm interested in having it be in 3d (maybe
a shadow box). But I'm at a loss as to how exactly to go from photos
to a physical model, and do it without sophisticated hardware/software
(i.e., 3D cad, CNC, & who knows what else?). I'm also looking for an
unusual medium to do it in (toothpicks are out ;-) ). But that's
beside the point.
Today, I had a new thought. I have no idea if this is even possible:
Is there a way that I can take a series of photos of an object from
several small angles (like a stereo picture would do with 2 images to
give it depth), and filter, do color separation, merge, etc. to give
me some 3D depth to the object (kind of like two color 3D glasses)?
These could then be printed out and used to 'layer' depth to the
The model does not have to match the original exactly. In fact, if it
had a certain amount of distortion or 'roughness' to it, it may even
give it some 'modern art' character and make it more interesting. I'm
not out to make an exact scale model of the original; That's already
been done.
I hope all this makes sense.
If you know of any info that may be helpful, I would appreciate some
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Well, the techinique to reconstruct geometry from images is called photogrammetry. There are manu commercial and free software packages for several platforms out there to do this.
An overview is at:
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I distinctly remember a free package for windows that did exactly what you describe (i.e. made a kind of pop-up-card model of an object from pictures), but it was quite a while ago, and the details elude me.
Anyways, google is your friend, maybe you can turn it up.
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You might be referring to Photomodeler Lite
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-- Luca Beato -
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Luca Beato
It's called PhotoModeler Lite, and is a limited version of a commercial software application. This free edition is apparently no longer available from the PhotoModeler website, but can still be downloaded from ftp://ftp.tcrc.edu.tw/Yesterday/graphics3D/pmlt31a.exe
I haven't used it myself so I don't know how well it will suit your needs. Hope this helps.
Regards, Ralph Currell
Reply to
Ralph Currell
Not sure what you're looking for (I imagine it's one of those "know it when you see it" categories). You can, of course, model the building from any material handy, plaster of paris, etc.
One idea is to take photos of each side of the building, cut out just the parts with the building, and assemble them into a box. It might be a weird-shaped box if your pictures have any perspective to them. Or use several copies of the same photo to build a layered look. Take one photo and cut out the windows, put a copy behind it so you can see the windows, but they are recessed. Add projecting detail to it similarly. If it has round columns in front, glue on successively thinner strips from the center of the columns for a simulation of roundness.
The trick is to have one eye see only one view and the other eye see only the other view, hence the glasses. I think it has been tried by cutting the photos into thin strips and alternating them on V-shaped corrugations such that the right eye sees only the photo one side of the V and the left eye sees the photo on the other side.
Reply to
Jack Bohn

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