Transforming images to a 3D object.

Robin HamiltonCreative Director

For a while I have been looking into the process of turning multiple images into a 3D object within Cinema 4D. With a lot of trial an error, we managed to find a software/app that made the below animation possible!


The process first came to my attention when I found a video on a software called Faceshift. A markerless motion capture that builds a 3D face from a live video feed. We wondered if instead of using a video source to create a 3D model, but build a 3D object from images. I scouted the internet for some tutorials which demonstrated which software’s could achieve this. The three main ones I came across are as follows;

VisualSFM –

Autodesk 123D Catch –

Autodesk RECAP 360 –

Now we found the tools to create an object from images, we needed to select a physical object to photograph. At Plustwo, we listen and compete to win Radcliffe and Maconie’s Tea Time Theme Time on BBC Radio 6 Music. The very rare winner gets to keep the desk frog below until a new winner is crowned. We felt the frog was a good starting point. With the help of Russ’s camera…and Russ, we set about collecting the various images the applications needed in order to create an object virtually.

VisualSFM was the first application we used. From the link it is clear to see this is an open source software which does not do user friendly. After figuring out how to get the software to calculate the set of images, there was no visible 3D capture. Only the camera positions of where the image was taken.

Moving onto the next application, Autodesk 123D Catch is miles ahead all round. A downloadable software with its very own online gallery of other users and their creations makes for fascinating viewing. It also features tutorials which help with producing better scans. However, the final results never completed the 3D mesh. Leaving many images not being recognised. Even with the option to help stitch the missing images, it could not calculate a full scan.

Andrea, our technical lead, informed us that Autodesk also has RECAP 360. Which he used with good success. Using this version gave the best results so far, even though it was not a fully complete mesh, it only boasted a couple of unstitched images.

With a bit reworking in Cinema the above animation was the result from the images taken below.



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