PhotoModeler Orthophoto Improvements & 2014.1 Release

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014

A new version of PhotoModeler (2014.1) was released July 9th. The main focus of this release is improved orthophoto production – in quality, speed and capability.

An orthophoto is a re-rendering of photographic data to take into account the surface shape.  It turns a photograph (or set of photographs) into an image that is like an orthographic drawing (no perspective distortions). An orthophoto is a great way of combining a number of photos to get an accurate photographic representation of a surface. Orthophotos are used in architecture, forensics and especially surveying. When the source is multiple photographs it is sometimes called an orthomosaic.

This latest release improves PhotoModeler orthophoto production capabilities in these ways:

  • Speed improvements through multi-core threading, and algorithm optimization – for example to generate a 1 mega pixel orthophoto for the MVS Sun Tutorial project took 5+ minutes in last release and less than a minute in the new release.
  • Pixel-based instead of triangle-based – PhotoModeler will now render triangles even if they don’t appear all in one photo.
  • Pixel blending – improved capability to average and blend pixels from multiple source photos to improve output quality. See example below.
  • Masking – user can mask out parts of photos that should not be in the output (e.g. people or cars). The output pixels are picked up from other photos that don’t have the same issue. See example below.
  • Occlusion checking – will remove pixels from source photos that are occluded by geometry in the orthographic projection. See example below.

Bas-relief Orthophoto – 2014.0.2 vs 2014.1 with blending on

2014.1 Orthophoto Blending

Notice how photos with different exposures don’t affect the result.


Roof Top Orthophoto – 2014.0.2 vs 2014.1 with occlusion checking on
(all photos taken from the ground)

2014.1 Orthophoto occlusion checking

Notice how the windows are no longer mapped to the roof.


Wall Orthophoto – 2014.0.2 vs 2014.1 with masks

2014.1 Orthophoto Masking

Notice how the person, pole and tree have been masked out.


PhotoModeler 2014.1 Release

In addition to the orthophoto improvements, the 2014.1 release contained 43 fixes and improvements.

The texturing system (3D Viewer and Exports) will continue to receive updates and improvements over the next few months. At this time we are releasing some speed improvements to texturing. The speed to create Quality Texture in projects with dense Meshes has been drastically improved. For example, the PhotoModeler MVS Sun Tutorial took hours to create a quality texture in the previous release. In the new release it takes 50 seconds! Other projects exhibit similar gains, producing quality textures far more quickly.

Other smaller improvements include a new tool for converting the ‘handedness’ of control data, the US Survey Foot as a new import and measurement unit, speed improvements for Dense Surface Modeling and PointCloud coloring due to a new cached lens distortion correction system, better handling of large control coordinates (UTM control points for example), a new DDE command for assigning control points, and improved precision of non-SI unit conversions.

See the upgrades page for more information.


New Tutorial Video

In conjunction with the 2014.1 release, a new tutorial for accident reconstruction and forensics has been published. The tutorial has professional voice over and subtitles. The tutorial covers how to measure vehicle crush from photos from an unknown camera using a reference exemplar (undamaged) vehicle.

The technique illustrated could also be used anywhere a change needs to be detected or measured where one set of photos comes from an unknown camera.

View the PhotoModeler Exemplar Crush video.

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