AutoDesk ReCap 360

As the first project for this quarter, we were required to select a piece of architectural decoration from somewhere in the Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation. I found a plaster Corinthian capital in the lab room. This selected piece was going to be the item that I would photograph to create a three dimensional model using AutoDesk’s program ReCap 360.

PROCESS

This program uses photographs and stitches them together in order to create an amazing 3D model of the object. In order to do so, I placed the plaster capital on top of a stool in order to achieve complete freedom to capture the object from any angle. I used my iPhone 6 camera to initially photograph the object in indirect lighting to best capture the texture. The first round of photographs were taken on the same level as the object. Photos began facing the front of the object and shifted clock-wise around, ensuring that each photo taken overlapped the previous by at least 50% to reduce loss of detail. After the entirety of the object as captured from a head-on perspective, photos were then taken from above to document the top of the piece.

After the 40 images were taken, the images were then transferred to the computer for upload to the AutoDesk ReCap 360 program. Using the ReCap program, the photos were selected off of the computer and uploaded in. After uploading, the photo project was named “Capital,” and the program began to stitch the photos together.

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Uploaded photos in the ReCap program being stitched together to create a comprehensive 3D model.

An hour wait yielded a complete 3D model of the plaster capital.

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The final 3D model.

The obj. file of the capital was uploaded to Sketchfab and a more accessible 3D model was generated.

RESULTS

I am impressed by the abilities of ReCap 360 to carefully stitch the images together as well as it was able to. However, I am disappointed that the software does not fully enable editing to remove excess data that was captured through the photographing process. Therefore, the capital is almost lost and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of excess data around it. I wish the software had an erasing option, like Meshmixer offers.

Colonial Park Cemetery 3D Models

Using AutoDesk ReCap 360 again, we applied the structure from motion method to capturing objects within the Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. As the original burial lot for the city when it was first planned in 1733 by James Oglethorpe, the cemetery is home to some of the oldest graves in the city. What also makes the area unique is the inclusion of half above ground burial vaults/mausoleums. These structures are commonly brick and resemble those in other southern cemeteries (i.e. New Orleans.)

PROCESS

With a great location available to us, we met at the site around 12:00 to photograph two to three objects or tombstones, which we would later upload into ReCap to create 3D models. With direct sunlight overhead, each student was tasked with finding objects to capture. I found a mausoleum, a box tomb, and a Die, Cap, and Base. With each object, I began taking photos parallel to the major surfaces, usually kneeling on the ground to get better coverage. Moving counter clock-wise, I used my iPhone 6 camera to photographed the objects, ensuring that each photo overlapped the previous by 50% to reduce any details being left out. After the lower portions

of the objects were thoroughly photographed, I tried to take photos from a much higher perspective to attempt to capture the top surfaces of these objects. Overall, I captured 31 photos for  the Mausoleum , 41 photos for the box tomb, and 37 photos for the Die, Cap, and Base.

While photographing, several challenges were encountered. First, the overhead direct sunlight made capturing details nearly impossible. Its full effect will revealed in the final 3D models. Second, the close proximity of other objects/tombstones made moving around the objects difficult. Overall, alternative positions were found and the proper photographs were taken.

Once the images were completed, they were transferred to a computer for uploading. The JPEG images were sorted according to object and then uploaded into AutoDesk ReCap 360. Once uploaded, certain settings were altered to ensure proper results for future editing. Ultra quality was selected to ensure fine details were translated, smart cropping was turned on to crop out unnecessary graphics behind the camera positions, smart texture was turned on to improve overall texture, and the OBJ and RCM formats were added.

The models were successfully generated from the images I captured from the cemetery. The files from ReCap 360 (.obj files) were then uploaded to a Sketchfab account.

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The editing window in Sketchfab, where the XYZ orientation and background were edited for easier viewing.

Once uploaded, the website regenerated the 3D model into a more accessible viewer for the public. The background was changed to a simple black to be less distracting for viewers. For several of the models, the orientation were askew and were accordingly adjusted on XYZ coordinates. They were then saved and published.

RESULTS

Overall, I am impressed with the amount of detail that the iPhone camera was able to catch, and how well the ReCap 360 program was able to align the photos together and stitch them to create a 3D model. The software was so easy to use, especially for someone who had no experience with any of this process. All it took was uploading the photos and allowing the program to stitch it together. The results are very satisfactory, but I wish the program also allowed for easy removal of the excess data in the model (i.e. the ground around the object).