Having fun with Photogrammetry

For a previous project I worked on, I was tasked with exploring technologies that could be used to recreate hard to find parts for vintage cars. I started looking into 3D scanning techniques that didn’t rely too much on specialized hardware, when I discovered Photogrammetry.

What is Photogrammetry?

According to Wikipedia, Photogrammetry is the art and science of making measurements from photographs, especially for recovering the exact positions of surface points. In its simplest form, Photogrammetry can be used to measure the distance of two points on the image plane, if the scale of the image is already known. When reconstructing three-dimensional objects, photogrammetry is used to measure the distances between points on the surface of the object.

A 3D Scan of a skull. Photo © 2018 Cicero Moraes

Using my camera, I would be able to make detailed scans of real world objects. I kept thinking “This is a great way to preserve some of the older car models and collectibles I have!” In order to test out the technology, I downloaded an application called 3DFZephyr. This application specializes in generating scans from photo data and then creates a 3D model from the scans. I decided to test the whole thing out by taking photos of a model I have on a stool outdoors, and then processing the photos with the software. It took a few tries to get everything right, but the end result was pretty impressive:

Although the initial tests were promising, there were still issues with the scanning process. The fidelity of the scan was entirely dependent on lighting. Even the best scan still had gaps and mesh issues because of the shadows. The “complete” scan was just a result of getting lucky with the software settings and shooting on a cloudy day.

Learning on the go

After researching how to get better scans, I found that if I used a cake decorating table and a specialized lightbox, I could easily control the lighting and the positioning of the model.

A Photogrammetry setup similar to my own. Photo © 2019 Kelsea Weber, iFixit
A Photogrammetry setup similar to my own. Photo © 2019 Kelsea Weber, iFixit

I bought a photography lightbox on Amazon that was big enough to fit a cake decorating table, and did a test with a vintage matchbox car. The plan was to take a photo and then rotate the turntable a small amount, and then take another photo. I planned the amount of rotations beforehand, and figured out that I would get at least 20 photos by the time I fully rotated the turntable.

A simple animation showing the different angles I shot the Matchbox Car.

The end result was a fairly complete scan, with only a few errors in the mesh creation. But, the basic shape of the toy and certain details like the chips in the paint were preserved.

Photogrammetry for everyone?

At the end of my investigation I found it is easy get into photogrammetry. In most cases, you could easily create a scan using a smart phone and a decent lighting setup. However, because of the type of research I was doing, this proved to be in-viable compared to dedicated scanning solutions.

Still, this could be an interesting hobby once you get over the technical hurdles. I would highly recommend giving it a try if you’ve got a free weekend!


[New Store Item] The Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI Collection

I’ve finally uploaded print-quality photos of the Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI to the Corkscrew’d Store! And now for only $10 you can download any photo and make as many prints as you want!

Check it out!

Porsche 919 Evo
The Porsche 919 EVO blasts through Turn 5 at Laguna Seca.

New pricing for the Corkscrew’d Store!

New pricing for the Corkscrew'd Store! Wooo!
New pricing for the Corkscrew’d Store! Wooo!

There’s new pricing for the Corkscrew’d Store! I’m happy to announce that now, all photos on the Corkscrew’d Store are only $10 per download! So check out some of the galleries!



The Lotus Hypercar has a name now: The Type 130

The new Lotus Type 130 illustrated through computational fluid dynamic modeling, demonstrating it's unique lines and airflow.

- Lotus Cars, 2019
“For the Drivers…with $2.5 Million to burn.” 2019 © Lotus Cars

Though I made my thoughts clear on the Lotus Hypercar, I’m excited for Lotus’ new model. Today, we officially learned what this new car would be called: The Type 130.

The Type 130 Teaser. 2019 © Lotus Cars

Aside from bringing back the nomenclature from the classic years (Type 11, Type 23, etc.), the newly released video by Lotus centers around their new branding effort: “For the Drivers.” The presence of clips of past Lotus race cars and sports cars in addition to clips of their current line up indicates to me that Lotus is hoping to make a connection between it’s history and this new car.

The thing is, a $2.5 million 1000hp Hybrid is still such a radical departure from Lotus’ modus operandi I fear they could be risking alienating their fan base. On the other hand, a Halo car like this could bring the attention and revenue Lotus needs to start developing newer sports cars. Maybe this could also result in a push to sell more cars in the United States?

Either way, I’ll be watching this development very closely. At least this new car looks very interesting!

[Opinion] The new McLaren GT looks kind of bland

Has McLaren toned down their design language to appeal to more customers?

By now, you would have seen McLaren’s latest Grand Tourer, the GT. I think it’s a decent looking car, but doesn’t the design seem kind of “generic?” The design is obviously influenced by the gorgeous-but-dumbly-named Speedtail, but I’m not seeing any of the sweeping lines and curves from it.

Instead, there’s the squared off air intake from the Senna, and some design references from the gorgeous 720S, with the fastback rear canopy like the 570GT. The end result to me looks like a hodgepodge of different elements designed to appeal to multiple people. Personally, I dislike this “design-by-committee” approach.

The new GT isn’t as dramatic as the Speedtail or the 720S, and while I think the new styling works to its detriment, it’s pretty clear that this car isn’t designed to go after Porsche or Ferrari. Instead, McLaren is gunning for luxury GT brands like Bentley and Aston Martin. Logic would dictate that styling would have to be more conservative if you’re hoping to capture the luxury GT market.

Still, I’m willing to bet that the car would look much better if they used side panels and intakes from the 720S instead of the Senna.

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  • Speedtail-side
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