3D Content from Images

Dateline: 12/08/99

Creating complex 3D environments is difficult. One class of software that addresses this issue is the 3d-models-from-geometry type of software. Tools and software for this type of capability have been discussed in several earlier features: 3D Photography to the Web, Geometra - 3D from Images for Geeks, and Can we Canoma. This feature is to examine just what people are doing with these tools.

The best site for locating Canoma created content is at http://www.canoma.com, run by Robert Seidl the Canoma product manager. (Who by the way will be the chat guest on Dec. 15th) One of the most fascinating efforts is the 360 Days in ActiveWorlds project. Run by Andy Smith a staff member of CASA (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis). ActiveWorlds is a 3D multi-user environment that enables people to build their own spaces. The 360 Days in ActiveWorlds project is leveraging the ActiveWorlds framework to encourage people to build portions of a Virtual London. An amazing map of progress is being created as well. The Shared Architecture portion of project takes advantage of Canoma's geometry-from-image capabilities allow users to place real houses and structure in the world.

Another project Hackney Interactive combines geometry from images, type models with QTVR (QuickTime VR) panoramic imagery and database driven information to create another fascinating project. Also from CASA the site allows virtual explorations of the Hackney area of London. According to Andy Smith the site can:

An architectural survey of housing types in Hackney was carried out, photographing housing types from the 1700s to the present day. By creating a photographic archive of typical housing types we demonstrate how new technologies can be used to capture information from a 2 dimensional photograph creating a 3 dimensional model. Once the built environment has been modeled in this way it can be used to aid the planning and design process.
Another major use of photographic imagery is to create objects rather than environments. Of course the objects can be sold. At NASA in the Small Shuttle Payload Project you can see lots of objects, but these are not for sale. (Of course after the failure of the Mars Polar Lander maybe these will be for sale!) For a totally complicated object check out this racing car by the folks at Geometra. Finally For some completely innovative examples check out Chris Casady (aka Tilenut) experiments in Canoma with some wonderful unintended uses of the product. That about it for this week's edition stay tuned to this Web channel for the latest and greatest!

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