123D Catch = My mind blown
March 7, 2013 1:07 PM   Subscribe

This is the story of an artist who was able to take numerous photos of a sculpture of a horse's head, "Head of a horse of Selene" now found in the British Museum - but originally from near the Acropolis in ancient Greece (circa 438-432 BC) - and who then fed the said photographs (taken from many different perspectives) to a revolutionary (free) software/app called 123D Catch (by AutoDesk, makers of AutoCAD), which then created the wireframes needed to print out exact replicas (in pieces that must then be assembled) on a 3D printer. The artist makes it available on Thingiverse, if you'd like to make one on your own on your 3D printer. If the demo video for 123D Catch doesn't blow your mind, your mind has probably already been blown. With apologies to Dr. Hook
posted by spock (38 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whoa. Finally I have a tool to do what I've wanted to do with my reams of pictures of Hungarian castles. I love it when the world does things for me without my even asking...
posted by Michael Roberts at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2013


Maybe, after stringing together all the tourist photos, they can give the damn Elgin Marbles back.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


Walter Benjamin must be spinning in his grave.
posted by Falconetti at 1:22 PM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Software like this has been around for awhile. The impressive thing is that Autodesk is apparently offering it for mostly-free.

(For the record, the desktop version is Windows-only, which you don't find out until you sign up for an account. "For the PC" is a pretty vague descriptor these days.)
posted by neckro23 at 1:22 PM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's funny how that "holy shit, we're living in a Sci-Fi universe" feeling keeps creeping up on you--and then the world renormalizes and you say "what, this old thing? It can't even replicate food in edible form!"
posted by yoink at 1:24 PM on March 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Walter Benjamin must be spinning in his grave.

That'll make it easier to get an authentic 3D replica of his corpse.
posted by yoink at 1:25 PM on March 7, 2013 [36 favorites]


I hope he's not spinning too fast and that you're not using a rolling shutter, or his replica might be distorted.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:29 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


How many pictures are needed for this? What angles? Most importantly, can someone do this with the photos that the Mars rovers have been taking. I know I will never walk on Mars. But this could provide an opportunity to experience that and sate my curiosity. (First pun not intended, second one intended.)
posted by Hactar at 1:29 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is pretty great. Even more amazing: fork the "originals" and touch up the models to look how they might have when they were first made, with complete manes and missing ears replaced.

Super-awesome future museum (aka: about 5 years from now, or next month with Google glass): current statues, with virtually repaired holograms next to/ mapped over the statues.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is going to revolutionize creepshots.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:31 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. However, be wary of trying to use old pictures. If the lighting isn't right, it may or may not work.
posted by dlg at 1:32 PM on March 7, 2013


This is going to revolutionize creepshots.

Oh god. I laughed and then I realized that that is actually true. Ugh.
posted by yoink at 1:34 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We forgot to hook up the doll?"
"You forgot to hook up the doll..."
posted by Flashman at 1:36 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Super-awesome future museum (aka: about 5 years from now, or next month with Google glass): current statues, with virtually repaired holograms next to/ mapped over the statues.

The future is already here.

Also in museums and 3D printing:

3D-Print Your Own Ancient Art at Museum Scanathon [also on 123D Catch] and here

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Smithsonian
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:44 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Andrew Ng, more famous for cofounding Coursera, once worked on a thingy that worked kinda like this, for still 2d pictures. Of course, it's a bit crappier.

http://make3d.cs.cornell.edu/
posted by curuinor at 2:02 PM on March 7, 2013


If you are interested in this kind of thing (to the tune of about $3k), you might want to check out NextEngine.

I looked into this for a work project a while ago and although it didn't do exactly what we wanted, I was definitely impressed by the quality/flexibility that you got for a relatively low price (similar things to this typically cost two to ten times as much).
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 2:45 PM on March 7, 2013


There's some videogame folks making all their digital assets in this way. They have some writeups on the process, including showing off their camera rig.

It gives me a lot of ideas for down-scaling and/or replicating things to 3D-print for props, miniatures, restoration, and whatnot, as I am very good at building objects with my hands, but far less so doing from scratch in the computer.
posted by Wossname at 3:32 PM on March 7, 2013


Didn't Microsoft (or maybe google?) have something very much like this in a tech demo film last year? I swear I remember watching a demo in which they searched Flickr for public domain images of a popular tourist trap (parthenon?), then showed their software overlapping and comparing the images to work out the relative positions of all the cameras, and then from that produce a textured 3D model of the building.

It seemed like an incredible idea, especially as it was built around having some server farm just automatically mine the millions of images already free for the taking online, but I never heard anything about it since then. Has anyone heard of it since?
posted by metaBugs at 3:41 PM on March 7, 2013


metabugs : photosynth (PC only - not the iOS version, which is actually Microsoft ICE)
posted by Yowser at 3:50 PM on March 7, 2013


A 360 panorama has been around for ages (QuickTime VR). Unless i missed something, that does not generate wireframes for 3d printers. (There is a huge difference between looking around you 360 and rotating an object you have photographed 360 on your computer screen and replicating an object from it)
posted by spock at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2013


You wouldn't download a horse, would you?
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:16 PM on March 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


1) This is a thing that exists.
2) It is not a specialized piece of software costing hundreds or thousands of dollars.
3) It can be used on any modern-day home PC.
4) It is free.
5) I can use my telephone to create free 3D models of anything I can photograph.

Not too shabby.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:18 PM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


spock, I don't like to contradict, but these aren't panoramas at all. The program does actually create 3d models, plus image textures for the surfaces of the model. It becomes easier to see when you look at output that is flawed or incomplete

I remember my mind being blown when Stanford researchers first accomplished this using nothing but image files and put the results on the web. Hard as it is to believe, it really has been 15 years since then, and now the process has been made into something that can be done from your desktop.
posted by CHoldredge at 4:34 PM on March 7, 2013


What I want to know is, if I download the PC version, can I make models from my own photos without having to upload them to the Autodesk servers?
The 123D site seems to indicate not.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:39 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was the OP. My last comment was regarding photosynth.
posted by spock at 4:42 PM on March 7, 2013


@Mister MooFoo : I downloaded the PC version today to my work computer. But I have not yet fired it up, so I can't answer. Maybe someone with experience can.
posted by spock at 4:43 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can has artworks?
posted by BlueHorse at 5:10 PM on March 7, 2013


Unfortunately, this means that crowds of photographers will be at least three times more annoying in the Louvre. Museums might have to offer up high-quality 3D scans online or in the gift shop, in order to prevent serious rubbernecking.

Also, this could really introduce the plastic figurine / PEZ dispenser market up to serious counterfeiting.
posted by markkraft at 5:59 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lets hope no one takes any photos of guns!
posted by blue_beetle at 6:43 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried to use this a while back, and got some relatively cool results. It seems to help if your subject is geometrically simple and contrasts with the backdrop, and if you take lots of good photos from about every conceivable angle.
posted by Green Winnebago at 7:25 PM on March 7, 2013


Lets hope no one takes any photos of guns!

Google "3d printed guns". Photos are not needed.
posted by spock at 9:22 PM on March 7, 2013


"For the PC" is a pretty vague descriptor these days.

This makes me crazy. If something is for Windows say it’s for Windows. The software does not run on a personal computer, it runs on Windows. They are not "PC" viruses, they are Windows viruses. WTF people!
posted by bongo_x at 11:12 PM on March 7, 2013


Apple's own advertising calls Windows computers PCs.
posted by markr at 11:57 PM on March 7, 2013


Maybe, after stringing together all the tourist photos, they can give the damn Elgin Marbles back.

μολὼν λαβέ
posted by atrazine at 3:36 AM on March 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stunning.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:42 AM on March 8, 2013


Also, this could really introduce the plastic figurine / PEZ dispenser market up to serious counterfeiting.

Not unless the goop they use changes a lot in the near future. 3D printed stuff is obviously still 3D printed stuff today.

Having said that, SO WHAT? The press destroyed the scribe's cartel. The mimeograph killed a bunch of presses, the xerox machine killed the mimeograph. This is a Good Thingtm.
posted by DigDoug at 6:57 AM on March 8, 2013


"This App Is Incompatible With This iPhone
This app requires a gyroscope"
posted by Room 641-A at 12:08 AM on March 9, 2013


I believe this used to be called photofly.

It's amazing and scary technology.
posted by codacorolla at 7:11 PM on March 31, 2013


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