Simulation and Simulacra? There's an app for that.
September 21, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Photofly is a cloud based service that will construct 3D models of objects based off of a handful of digital photographs. The NYT ran this story in June providing a bit more detail. Photofly can be used to capture People (more, more, and more), Places (so on, and so forth), and Things (etc., etc., etc). It's also been used to create unreal effects in this music video. Shaan Hurley, of autodesk, explains the technology in this video.
posted by codacorolla (15 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
This reminds me a lot of PhotoSynth (previously)
posted by rebent at 9:54 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Windows only. Damn.

I so wanted to use this in conjunction with a 3d printer.
posted by smcameron at 10:00 AM on September 21, 2011

I'm currently running through the source of Bundler for a work related project, and I have to say it is a lot of fun. For something that generated denser point clouds look at PMVS and if you want a breakdown of the algorithms you can find a paper on it here.
posted by The Power Nap at 10:27 AM on September 21, 2011

Whoa, that music video is by Hunz, who was pretty active back in the demoscene days.

I still have hearing loss from my mind being blown when I first loaded up this song by Hunz, written using Buzz Tracker in I think Windows 95.
posted by circular at 10:34 AM on September 21, 2011

Hello uncanny valley!
posted by Windopaene at 10:35 AM on September 21, 2011

Looks like interesting technology, tho I can't wait for it to add some sort of smoothing to make it useful.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:43 AM on September 21, 2011

This looks totally fun. I'll have to give it a try, see what I can come up with.
posted by antifuse at 1:25 PM on September 21, 2011

Interesting they don't suggest setting objects on a lazy susan with a printed chart of degrees under the object and use a tripod for the camera. Should create exceedingly improved results.

Really cool tech. I'm looking forward to the positive uses for this. But there will likely be lots of bad things done with it as well. Unique or rare objects are going to be rapidly devalued over the next couple decades.
posted by LoudMusic at 1:38 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

REALVIZ which was acquired by Autodesk a few years back, had a product called ImageModeler that did something similar to Photofly—create a 3D model and tex maps from photos—except computation was done on your local workstation, it required as few as three photos taken from known points and it was $5K/seat.

REALVIZ had several other truly ground-breaking products including Stitcher for stitching together lots of photos to create environment maps for 3D, MatchMover for inserting synthetic objects into live action and Re-Timer, the first practical optical flow based frame-rate alteration system.

It was all so magical then.
posted by bz at 3:20 PM on September 21, 2011

This video of a 3D footprint makes me wonder what the implications could be for forensic sciences. You have a crime scene, you have a high quality camera with an operator trained to get all of the right angles, and all of a sudden you have a desktop model that detectives can study without even being in place.
posted by codacorolla at 9:01 PM on September 21, 2011

Actually, thinking about it a little more, the Youtube comments say that MP of the camera doesn't matter too much. So maybe you have a bunch of cheap digital cameras that are wired to fire in sequence and capture all of the room in optimal lighting conditions to get an instant, high fidelity series of shots at strategically placed angles. I think it's really an interesting idea.
posted by codacorolla at 9:32 PM on September 21, 2011

what the implications could be for forensic sciences.

i've seen some detective units using lidar or similar scanning at crime scenes already. Though once this gets even better it could really be impressive.

I spent years trying to break into visual effects, so i've played with the REALVIZ stuff, and it was damn impressive, sad Autodesk bought them, they seem the slowest at getting prices down to a more sane price (this coming from someone who bought a legal copy of Softimage in the mid 90s, not going to embarrass myself with how much i paid for that. :P) Sort of related, it was damn fun seeing this sort of thing being shown off in the early stages at SIGGRAPH, so many smart people coming up with amazing techniques. (even if they do take many, many years to reach the desktop)
posted by usagizero at 12:13 AM on September 22, 2011

hey The Power Nap, how bad is it to get Bundler running on your own? I've been meaning to try setting it up for a while.
posted by fake at 7:18 AM on September 22, 2011

In other news, I still have yet to get a response for my first attempt at doing this... About 16 hours later. Hrmph.
posted by antifuse at 8:37 AM on September 22, 2011

Aaaand still nothing. Anybody able to get it working yet?
posted by antifuse at 12:31 PM on September 23, 2011

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