Getting a textured 3D scan from just a webcam

Here’s an oldie but a goodie that passed us up the first time it went around the Internet. [Qi Pan], (former) PhD student at Cambridge, made a 3D modeling program using only a simple webcam. Not only does this make very fast work of building 3D models, the real texture is also rendered on the virtual object.

The project is called ProFORMA, and to get some idea of exactly how fast it is, the model of a church seen above was captured and rendered in a little over a minute. To get the incredible speed of ProFORMA, [Qi] had his webcam take a series of keyframes. When the model is rotated about 10°, another keyframe is taken and the corners are triangulated with some very fancy math.

Even though [Qi]‘s project is from 2009, it seems like it would be better than the ReconstructMe, the Kinect-able 3D scanning we saw a while ago. There’s a great video of [Qi] modeling a papercraft church after the break, but check out the actual paper for a better idea of how ProFORMA works.

17 thoughts on “Getting a textured 3D scan from just a webcam

  1. Another one out there that is very similar was created by Autodesk:

    http://www.123dapp.com/

    When I first tried this, it was a web service only where you’d upload photos to their server and the server would return a model, but was somewhat time consuming and clumsy. It appears that they’ve created a series of applications now that I need to try!

    1. Slight correction: Even the computer based apps still rely on a remote server to handle the image processing.

      1. If there was a plethora of free or even cheap solutions for 3d scanning that your average person can use… I’d agree. However, that’s not the case.

  2. What ever happened from this project? He said he would release a working program to the public within a few weeks back in 2009, but I never found anything. My guess was that it got bought up before that could happen.

  3. he’s on facebook under panqi not gonna publish the full link

    if you read his Study history it matches

    http://mi.eng.cam.ac.uk/~qp202/

    Employers

    Qualcomm
    Senior Engineer · March 2011 to present
    Computer Vision R&D

    BT (British Telecommunications)
    July 2006 to September 2006 · Ipswich, Suffolk
    Created a semantic search engine
    University (postgraduate)

    Cambridge
    School year 2011 · PhD · Computer Vision · Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
    University

    Cambridge
    School year 2007 · Engineering/EIST · Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
    Secondary school

    Devonport High School for Boys
    School year 2003 · Plymouth

  4. Looks like old abandoned graduate school work that went nowhere. Looks like shit anyway, these guys at Vi3dim.com already beat them to the punch awhile back and are selling the same Webcam Scanner technology.

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