This week I am capturing several objects in 3D including the world famous Delicate Arch located in Arches National Park in SE Utah. Tomorrow two FARO employees and myself will be hiking up to the Delicate Arch with a 3D laser scanner to capture the Delicate Arch in a 3D point cloud. The new FARO 3D laser scanner we will be using is about the size of a loaf of bread or 2 DSLR cameras and weighs in at only 12 pounds with its tripod.
Why capture the Delicate Arch in 3D, because we can. Capturing the Arch is not only fun, but demonstrates there are no limits to the practical use of Reality Capture techniques and applications to document existing objects in 3D. In this case of the Delicate Arch, the 3D point cloud generated could also be used to study how the arches sandstone geometry changes over time as the sandstone arches are carved and shaved by the weather elements. Some arches like Wall Arch have collapsed with no real data on their actual detailed geometry captured for historical records or study. This will be an awesome day of technology as well as the amazing beauty of the scenery during the hike.
I am also down here using Autodesk’s Project Photofly. Project Photofly allows me to capture objects using only my digital camera and then use Project Photofly’s Photo Scene Editor to generate a 3D model from the photos using photogrammetry technology. With Project Photofly I am capturing not only some of the unique geological structures like arches, but also Native American ruins dating back 1500 years.
I am using a version of Project Photofly that is currently in development and expected to be released on Autodesk Labs as a free Technology Preview this Spring. This new version’s technology and capabilities is light years beyond where we were with the currently posted version. It is amazing and I cannot wait until we release it for you to use it and provide us feedback to evolve the product even more.
At Autodesk, we believe Reality Capture using technologies like laser scanning and photogrammetry are the future in most industries for several uses from creating a model for energy analysis, documenting existing process plant piping, capturing geometry to aide in the rebuilding of mechanical parts like they do at Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, and even content or digital props for Media & Entertainment. We have released many of our products with support for point clouds like the recent AutoCAD 2012, Civil 3D, and Autodesk Revit 2012. We have also released point cloud preview technologies on Autodesk Labs such as the Shape Extraction for AutoCAD.
Stay tuned for more information, photos, and images of the models from the scanning of the Arch and SE Utah Geological and Archeological projects this week.