Photogrammetry is an art, science, and engineering technique that captures the shape of objects by taking photographs from different angles. The word “photogrammetry” comes from two Greek words: photos (meaning “light”) and gramma (meaning “to measure or draw”). A photogrammetric analysis is used in many fields such as topography, archaeology, and Architecture. In the field of Architecture, photogrammetry can be used to create 3D models of existing buildings for documentation purposes or for creating a virtual reality model using computer graphics software like Blender or Sketchup.
Photogrammetry is a technique used in Architectural visualization to create 3D models from photographs. Photogrammetric reconstruction is the process of generating a mesh of an object or structure by measuring photo distances and angles between photos taken at different locations. Photogrammetry has many applications, including mapping terrain and other earth surface features or objects, as well as producing scale or three-dimensional representations of objects for various purposes. Several other terms are used to describe photogrammetry such as “remote sensing” which includes satellite imagery and “image-based modeling” where digital images form the basis for reconstructing physical objects or scenes.
Photogrammetry techniques can be as simple or technologically advanced as you want to make them. It all depends on your desired level of outcome.
By taking many photographs of a space from various angles and distances, keeping in mind each photograph must overlap the previous, form to create a complete three-dimensional record of the space. A computer program then takes all this information and produces a 3D model with textured image maps of the object or space.
Photogrammetry requires taking many photos from different angles to provide enough data points for the software. The more photos taken, the better-looking your final model will be. But there is a trade-off. The more data the more detail, which also results in longer computational times. Finding that balance takes practice.
Creating 3D models or virtual twins of real-world objects has a tremendous amount of possibilities. Bringing real-world products into Architectural visualizations can provide an enhanced level of detail and richness to the scene. It can speed up workflow and enhance realism. It can be used to create virtual reality or to provide accurate measurements of the environment. Photogrammetric data has been collected for decades as part of mapping and other industries, but recent advances in computing power have made it possible to generate photorealistic renderings from this data.
In architecture visualization, photogrammetry enhances even the simplest of models by bringing realistic textures to those objects. This allows architects and designers to explore their designs with a high level of visual fidelity and realism.
Photogrammetry at its core allows you to capture detailed objects that allow you to either properly portray it as a digital version of a real-world environment or to add elements of the real world into your virtual scene. This is a technique that allows you to create 3D models of objects that might be difficult to model and texture.
The beauty of this technique is that it doesn’t require any formal training to use — anyone who has access to the necessary equipment can do it themselves! This means there is a huge opportunity for you as an Architect to start to bring this into your workflow.
When I am working on a new project, I will often recreate the existing spaces as virtual twins of the actual project. This allows me to quickly model over changes to the spaces. Once complete you end up with a detailed realistic model that your clients can get immersed into. As we know, the more realistic your renderings and visualizations are the more believable they become for your clients.