Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software is taking technology world by storm. Read all what you need to know about in interview of best photogrammetry solution – RealityCapture.
Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software is groundbreaking technology advancement. You capture images and it produces high quality, detailed, accurate 3D mesh geometries in real time. Major applications of RealityCapture are:
- Image based modeling
- Mapping and Measuring
- Large scale projects
- Cultural heritage
- Paintings reconstruction
- Full body 3D scanning
Check out their exclusive interview below, given by Capturing Reality team. Major inputs are from Michal Jancosek, Managing Partner.
Capturing Reality is a small, young company which is located in the heart of Europe, in an EU member state called Slovakia. Our product RealityCapture, is something which has started as a PhD research project and has developed into something big. Something we are proud of. Something that we consider to be our child.
Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software is a living proof that you do not need to be big, located in Silicon Valley, and do not always need to pact with the devil (as an investor) in order to build something, you can be proud of. Finally, you can try to compare RealityCapture and the so-called industry standard Photogrammetry softwares / applications for yourself. And we will be glad when you share your findings with others.
From the very beginning, we have self-funded our company. It was a rocky road, but because we were willing to work hard and because we love what we do, we have been able to not only survive but also grow further. Huge thanks also belong to the fantastic community around our product and to RealityCapture users. Therefore, thank YOU! You are wonderful! We hope that our 3D scanning software serves you well and that it delivers what you need easily and reliably.
Capturing Reality was established in 2013. In February 2016 we entered the market with our product, photogrammetry solution, Reality Capture (RC). However, even before that, our solutions gained great success in Slovak national digitization project. We are on continuous developments to make it the best photogrammetry software.
Despite the fact that RC has been on the market for relatively short time, we think that it is already achieving great success (based on the reactions of our users). RealityCapture is accessible also on Steam and costs just 36,99€ as a monthly subscription.
Whose brain child is ‘Capturing Reality’? How the concept got incepted?
Well, the whole idea emerged when we realized that we want so start something on our own. Since we have background in computer graphics, parallel computing, computer vision, machine learning and pattern recognition and, of course, photogrammetry, starting our own software company was just logical thing to do.
Already during our PhD studies, we developed a program called CMPMVS which was created for the research community for non-commercial purposes to create 3D model from photos. It has just a small subset of Reality Capture features, and the performance and quality is much worse for 3D capture. Despite that more than 30,000 users downloaded it in two years’ time.
More importantly, we also have experience in professional software development from Microsoft, where we spent 5 years and finished in positions of principal developers. We worked on projects like Kinect, Photosynth, Xbox Avatars, Live Services etc.
However, as we are very passionate about what we do, we have decided that we want to push borders of what can be done with Capturing Reality Photogrammetry solution software. CMPMVS software could not be used for commercial purposes, so we decided to re-write it from scratch and make it 100-times better and turn it into our full-time job. As each of us has been working on different, but complementary, tasks, we could not have done it no other way than as a team.
Kindly share the journey of ‘Capturing Reality’ so far in brief.
The company was established in August 2013, so soon it will be 4 years. In the first year, a 3D scanning software prototype was created and already with the prototype, we were able to show faster, more detailed results and process laser scans. Hence, even though the Photogrammetry software was in the development phase, companies were using it in projects of digital preservation of cultural heritage.
Then we sold a few licenses to early adopters based on their positive prototype evaluation. And we were improving it and kept selling it in this ‘closed beta’ mode. Finally, the official release of RealityCapture took place in February 2016 and it is a great success mainly in the game and movie industry.
What is the USP of the product?
Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software, RealityCapture significantly outperforms all existing photogrammetry solutions in speed, accuracy, and mesh quality.
It is the first solution that is able to automatically process 3D capture images and terrestrial lasers scans together. You might think that speed is at the expense of quality. However, that is not the case with RC. It is able to provide not only faster but also more detailed results. From close range photogrammetry to aerial photogrammetry, it works fine with all complexities.
How the software got collaborated with ‘Ghost In The Shell’?
One of our customers, Dayton Taylor, the director of Digital Air Inc., a VFX and camera-array technology company, has created a special “motion photogrammetry” camera system for the production of Ghost In The Shell movie. It is a dome that consists of 80 cameras. These have an auto-synchronization feature, meaning that the timing of global shutters of all the cameras is perfectly synchronized, which is very important factor of photogrammetry solution. Performances of the film’s actors are recorded inside this dome of cameras, kind of 3D scanning software. Each frame needs to be reconstructed individually into 3D in order to get a real 3D video. This is a huge amount of data to create 3D model from photos. Therefore, thanks to its amazing speed, RealityCapture has been used for this task.
If you have seen the movie Ghost In The Shell, RealityCapture has helped create the “solograms” that appear throughout the film’s cityscapes and are meant to represent futuristic commercials.
Please share some technical insights of this photogrammetry solutions software.
Simply speaking, the Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software consists, among many other modules, of two main modules: alignment (camera registration) and meshing.
The alignment module is used to automatically compute positions and orientations of cameras and/or laser scans (and other parameters like focal length, image distortion, etc.) for each image. The alignment module works in almost linear time to the number of images, which had been considered to be impossible in the research community. This allows you to align thousands of images in a very reasonable time on one standard desktop computer, or a better laptop. One of our customers, STUDIO 727, has processed 100,000 images of a cathedral on one computer in a very reasonable time. It was mix of close range photogrammetry and aerial imagery. As the cathedral is the subject of cultural preservation, and it is of very complicated structure, all the images are strongly intertwined. The 3D scanning software uses various techniques in order to achieve the laser precision and photogrammetric detail. RC was the only photogrammetric software that was able to register laser scans together with cameras, and thus achieve high precision to create 3D model from photos.
RealityCapture has an out-of-core meshing module that allows you to reconstruct a whole city on a single computer with standard 16 or 32 GB of RAM. So, you do not need to have a ‘supercomputer’ to make professional reconstructions. Moreover, the resulting model (mesh) is complete, without seams, and also very clean and accurate. All that is done fully automatically.
Finally, we have been receiving very positive feedback regarding the UI as it is user friendly, and our users find it very easy to work with. They are considering it as the best photogrammetry software.
Please explain in detail the vast gamut of application areas which can be covered by ‘Capturing Reality’.
Photogrammetry itself can be used in many areas. Almost everything can be turned into a 3D model. RealityCapture is currently used mainly in game and movie industry – for scanning assets, creating environments, 3D photogrammetry, VFX, full-body 3D scanning and other 3D captures. It can be advanced to virtual reality motion capture. However, full body 3d human scanner technology is used also in medicine, or when you want to have a 3D printed figures of yourself. One of our customers is focusing on scanning 3D faces for games and offers the possibility to have your face scanned as well as become a character in the video game. How cool is that?
Another big area where Reality Capture is used is cultural heritage, where companies digitize monuments, old historical buildings, or even whole cities, or areas to be preserved for future generations. Then these models are used in Virtual Reality, or in case that an historical building needs restoration, these models provide you with an accurate model of the real object, and then restorers can do their job based on the model. Thanks to virtual reality, the interest in culture in a digital form is rising. When it comes to digitizing cultural objects of historical importance, it is crucial to achieve the highest possible precision. We have a proven record that this can be done with RC and that is why RC is the perfect solution for most VR scenes.
Archeology is another area where RC is used. Imagine a 500-year-old object. After such a long time, it is very fragile and can be damaged by manipulation. However, this way archeologist can create 3D model from photos, and research, and measure the object without touching it further. And also, this way it is accessible to the wider public and history enthusiasts who would otherwise have not been able to access such an object.
Construction and civil engineering is another vast area where RC can be used. You can scan large areas to create georeferenced 3D maps and digital surface models, and create plans for road constructions. Real estate is another great area where you can create a virtual tour of the future home of your customers, or scan terrain and then create visualization for the housing estate.
We have also seen some application in the fashion industry, creating models for Augmented Reality where you can see the whole designer’s collection and, with the mobile application Pictofit, you may also try on the designer’s clothes. Another company created augmented reality food menu application that helps users decide what to eat by presenting virtual 3D food on their table, in a restaurant and when ordering online.
There are countless possibilities for how to use Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software from hobbyists to large companies, there is a solution for everybody.
As a software company, what do you think about future of VR and AR?
We think that both VR and AR are in its beginnings, however they are already incredible. What is important about VR and AR is the content, which we think is still lacking. With VR it is amazing that you can get lost in staring on a simple rock, which you would not otherwise notice somewhere in the nature. Furthermore, thanks to VR, also the historical objects entered a whole new dimension. Nowadays, a child is only rarely excited about visiting a museum. But to present it in VR… Well, that is a different story. They will fight about who can see it first. Virtual reality motion capture is again a huge market to tap on.
People and 3D TV producers usually confuse 3D and stereo, which is wrong. What you see on the 3D TV is just a video with depth. But in VR and AR you must have a real 3D scene, or objects. Therefore, we think that with the growing popularity of VR and AR, the demand for realistic, high quality 3D content will grow. Even today’s schoolchildren can create such content without any special knowledge, using RealityCapture. And there is a plenty of realistic VR contents already created using RealityCapture, Capturing Reality Photogrammetry solution.
Share some of the biggest technical hurdles you cleared during creation of the software.
There is a gigantic number of technical hurdles we cleared during creation of the software. We solved many of them during our PhD research. You can Google our names. We have over 1,000 citations of our research publications. However, we have gone much further, in our company, and most of our algorithms have not been published. This is something that gives value to our company and that is strictly confidential.
Which file formats and industry standard packages are supported by the product?
We do support all commonly used 3D file formats, like obj, fbx, ply, etc. Therefore, transferring results from RealityCapture to any of the industry standard packages like Adobe, Foundry and Blackmagic Design is not a problem at all.
Kindly share future goals.
Our goal is to always deliver to our customers just the best photogrammetry software, so that they are 100% happy with the result they paid for, this is our long-term commitment. Furthermore, we are going to release our technology in the form of an SDK. We call it RealityCapture Engine. And the vision is to make RealityCapture for developers of photogrammetry/scanning projects the same what is the Unity3D engine for game developers. We announced this plan during a joint talk with NVIDIA on the GTC and GDC conferences this year.
We have a list full of juicy TO-DOs which we believe our users will love. We are trying to make all new features not just “usual” but fast, responsive, super hi-tech so that a machine can do the job for you automatically in a clever way. This is all to make work with RealityCapture a great fun.
Finally, we also plan a revolution in photogrammetry software and change the way how it is used today. We applied for a patent on that and I do not need to tell you more now, since you will see it in the very short future.
Learn from our official Photogrammetry tutorials to sharpen your skills and get ahead in 3D capture developments. To get all latest updates of our Capturing Reality Photogrammetry software, feel free to follow / join our on social media credentials:
Facebook page: CapturingRealityCom
Facebook group: Capturing Reality Arena
Google Plus: Capturing Reality
Check out 3D capture gallery from RealityCapture.