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.)


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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 12.18.00 PM

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.


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).


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