Precise Calibration Is Essential for Good 3D Models

Garbage in
Garbage out

It is amazing that 3D models can be created from regular (uncalibrated) pictures. This link shows some nice examples of how uncalibrated images can be used to make 3D models.

Quality in
Quality out

Our approach is harder, but our results are better. We precisely calibrate our cameras, and we use the calibrated pictures to make 3D models.  As our calibration improves, our 3D models improve. The combination of better calibration and sub-pixel processing has allowed us to create models that are accurate to within 1 or 2 millimeters at 10 feet. Also, our new color processing routine adjusts lighting and allows the colors in different 3D scans to blend better. More accurate scan geometry and better color control results in better looking 3D models. The video below demonstrates our latest improvments. The complete 3D model in our video consists of 13 scans from 13 different locations.

I believe that we have tackled the hardest part of the problem: calibration.  Now that our geometry is correct, we can focus on making our 3D models attractive and easy to work with.  We will continue improving the system in the following three ways:

We are finalizing the Proto-5B design. The current system takes about 7 minutes to create a single scan, and the next iteration of our scanner will capture the imagery at least 20 times faster.  ETA for this system is April 2016.

Post-processing imagery is normal. Photoshop is often used to clean up 2D pictures, and many 3D programs can clean up our 3D data. We are evaluating several programs, and will make our data work with the best solution(s).

Make it easier to move our data to other software like Unity, Meshlab, SketchUp, and possibly Matterport. Being compatible with Unity will make us compatible with headsets like Oculus, and that will allow a photorealistic 3D VR experience.

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