Project Photofly is our technology preview of converting photographs to 3D models. You start with a set of photographs that you load into a Photo Scene Editor – a small application you install on your Windows PC. Using the Photo Scene Editor, you upload the photos to the Project Photofly server. The server then converts the photographs to a 3D photo scene by lining up features in the photographs and returns the photo scene to the Photo Scene Editor running on your computer. From the Photo Scene Editor, you can save the photo scene to your computer in a variety of ways. What you save depends on the format you have chosen.
A frequently asked question is "Why doesn’t the DWG contain the mesh data?" Director of Autodesk Labs Engineering, Keshav Sahoo, gave me the scoop:
- Project Photofly v1 populated DWG files with sparse point clouds – sparse in that the point clouds created were only large enough to determine the locations of the cameras. Points that defined the camera locations were not stored in the DWG as true AutoCAD point cloud objects but instead as individual points. This approach was not accurate nor optimal for AutoCAD in terms of memory use.
- Project Photofly v2 creates very large meshes – sometimes larger than what AutoCAD on a modest computer can handle. Using a true AutoCAD point cloud instead would have been possible, but the Application Program Interface to attach and index the point cloud is on the roadmap for a future AutoCAD release. So what is possible and practical today is for the user to export the point cloud data as a LAS file and then index and attach it to the DWG. The result is more accurate and memory optimal for AutoCAD.
Ladies and gentleman, start your engines. Try it for yourself today.
Explaining what’s under the hood is alive in the lab.