How do you create a 3D model of an object? A 3D artist studies an object and builds a 3D mesh. Next, a texture artist paints a 2D map to wrap around the mesh. The process is expensive and time consuming.. but actually, it isn’t anymore, there’s now a much easier way.
Intelligent software can now automatically build the interactive 3D model based on a series of photos. Using Autodesk Remake we can take a Museum or Art object and within a couple of hours produce an interactive 3D model. The model can then be viewed on a web page without the need for plugins or special software. It’s very accessible, and a great way for visitors to preview objects on display.
Here’s one I made earlier:
So, here’s the How To. Just a heads up, this is fairly technical (it may be occasionally frustrating) and it will take a few goes to get right.
- Download and install Autodesk Remake.
- Choose an interesting object. One that’s matt in texture. It can’t be shiny or transluscent.
- Prepare a soft lit room, bright enough to light the object but with no hard shadows.
- Place the object on a plynth. Ideally supported so that you can easily photograph the underside.
- Get a high resolution camera. Fill the camera frame with the object and circle around it taking pictures (physically circle the object, don’t turn it!). Maintain an even distance and height. Take a shot about every 10 degrees; you should have 30 – 40 photos from one loop.
- Repeat this process, taking shots from slightly above, and slightly below the object. The aim is to capture every angle and facet of the object.
- Next upload the photos to Remake. If you have insufficient computer memory to process ‘locally’, choose ‘online’ instead. In about half an hour your model will be created.
- Download the model to a folder and re-open the downloaded file with Remake.
- There you have it! A 3D model of the object. Hopefully you have a decent model of your object. If not, it’s likely a problem with photography. Did you take enough pictures? Did you light the object correctly? If not, then start over.
- Delete any walls and random objects that have been captured accidentally by using the ‘select’ tool. Simply highlight the areas and press the delete key.
- Export your model for web viewing, there are various model files. An .obj file is perfectly fine. The .obj export will generate a folder with an .mtl file and .jpg.
- Add your three files to a zipped folder. This can be uploaded to sketchfab.com (or other similar site). Sketchfab will provide a handy embed code that can be used to place the final interactive 3D model on your website! For social media, you can link to your website using a video of the object (this can be exported in addition to .obj file at the stage: 11)
If you want help creating 3D versions of your objects, feel free to get in touch.