Reflection: 3D Modeling During a Lockdown

As part of our assessment for the final course of this Master’s degree, we have been working on 3D models of objects from our homes for the upcoming ‘Covid-19 Collection’. In this post, I will briefly reflect on some of the challenges faced and how I overcame them in my experience creating a 3D model during a lockdown. 

For this project, we used the software Agisoft Metashape Pro. This software utilises photogrammetric and structure from motion techniques to create high quality 3D models. I actually attempted to model two different objects: a red Bose wireless speaker and a granite mortar and pestle.

I had initially intended to contribute to my speaker to the collection, however, I soon found that something about its fairly uniform geometry, texture and colour was very difficult for the programme to process.

After struggling and failing for a week to get even a basic alignment with this object, I realised that I would not be able to solve the technical challenges it presented in the given timeframe. 

My experiments with this object were very frustrating and disheartening, however, they lead me to believe that the issues, while perhaps not insurmountable with enough time, processing power and technical skills, nonetheless likely spawned from the object itself. Therefore, I decided to choose a different item.

Though this experience was disheartening, I kept going and decided to choose a different object. The mortar and pestle soon proved itself a far easier candidate for 3D modelling. Utilising the techniques and lessons learned from my experience with the speaker, I was quite easily able to move through capturing, alignment, constructing a dense cloud, building a mesh, smoothing and refining it and finally adding texture to the model. 

All in all, I am very happy with how this model turned out. Having the opportunity do this project again, I would have done some things differently. Firstly, I would have borrowed lighting and camera equipment from the university, as I had some extra challenges overcoming shortcomings in my own. Secondly, of I would never have attempted to model the speaker, and instead spent more time modelling my mortar and pestle, as despite gaining an excellent alignment and highly accurate loose point cloud, the looming deadline meant that I did not dare to run longer processes, such as my dense cloud, on higher settings as they might take hours or days to complete. I am very happy with my final model, however, some minor issues are present, some of the textures are not as crisp as I would like them and some small parts of the geometry under the pestle are fused with the mortar. With the benefit of more time with this object and perhaps better-tailored equipment, I might have been able to overcome these problems and produce a flawless model. However, considering the circumstances, I feel that what I did produce is about as close as I could have gotten.

For a full report on the exact specifications used, please consult the document below. Click here to view the final 3D model on Sketchfab.

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