• Susan Elaine Jones

Lockdown week 3 no, sorry week 4 - 3D modelling

3D modelling. It's like all the frustration with photography, multiplied by 200!

Shown by it taking over a week to fix the gremlins to share these models and get this blog post out.

As anyone who has talked to me in the last 3 months might have picked up, I've become a bit obsessed with 3D modelling and printing recently. Ever since I met the marvellous Geoff who does 3D models for the brilliant media studio at Addenbrookes, great plans are afoot. However, the lockdown has caused progress to halt. So, if you find yourself stuck at home, thinking "if only I could make a 3D model of this thing, but all I have is a digital camera" then let me introduce you to 3D modelling!

It's a simple 3 stage process:

  1. put object on a table, and prowl around it taking about 200 photos from every conceivable angle.

  2. throw all those photos into the free software Agisoft Photoscan

  3. follow the steps in the software until a 3D model appears!


Ta-daa!


Of course, it absolutely is NOT that simple.


First, you might think "Why would I walk around an object, when I can just spin it where it is?" Ah! Because the changes in lighting confuse the software, and produce some magical results.

You can *sort of* see that there might be a skull in there. But, the software has created some weird, "The Thing" type imposter creature of the skull.

(If you haven't seen John Carpenter's excellent film "The Thing" then

a. stop everything and go watch it immediately. or

b. watch the short Pingu version to appreciate the main points of plot and special effects. With some "noot noot"s in there too.)

Second, you wouldn't believe how many times you have to play with picture size, mesh shape, and even spend an inordinate amount to time learning how to work the software to even rotate the thing. And then there are other bits of software like MeshLab, MeshMixer that you need to do edits. And all that to make something that may or may not be 3D-printable. But none of that need concern you for now. Just play with making some models and be amazed!

Or, just enjoy a few skull models that I've made (again, with the extensive help of the marvellous Geoff!)





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