Master Thesis – Photogrammetry

In Dutch it’s called a Master Thesis, but in reality it’s just a 2000 words assignment to research a certain field op VFX. I chose Photogrammetry, because I had seen it in action once and was amazed by the proces, not knowing something like this was possible. Along the way it started popping up everywhere. In breakdowns, behind the scenes videos from my favorite companies and movies but also in presentations like at FMX. It was there and then that I knew photogrammetry was going to be a great tool for VFX and started to research it some more.

Of course I’m not going to post my whole thesis here for obvious reasons but I am going to summarize most of the research.

June 9, 2014
"The President sits for a 3D portrait being produced by the Smithsonian Institution. There were so many cameras and strobe lights flashing but the end result was kind of cool. See the video at this link:"
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



I started with a chapter on how photogrammetry works and how I met photogrammetry. It all started when a enthusiastic teacher came to us 123Catch and how great it is. It technically does work like magic, but the results are awefull. That’s when I started with some research on photogrammetry and soon found Agisoft Photoscan. Software that does deliver some great results.


So when I started my research I soon found out photogrammetry is pretty old. As old as 1849. The year where Aimé Laussedat, a French inventor, started hís research on mapping topographical maps from photographs. His research would pave the road for aerial photogrammetry in the start of the 20 century. After that I focused more on when photogrammetry was introduced in film. Something that would only happen until 1999 in Fightclub en The Matrix.


After that I focussed on Paul Debevec and his research on photogrammetry in film. And wandered off to talk about his research about HDR and his Light Stage research.


The next chapter contains a more in depth look in how photogrammetry works. The math behind it and a technical description about the process that makes photogrammetry work.


This chapter I focused on the Pioneers that have evolved photogrammetry to the point at where its at right now. People like Perry Smith van Infinite Realities and others who have dedicated their business to photogrammetry

vista of lake in video game computer graphics


This chapter I compared Photogrammetry and Lidar. First I explained how Lidar works and after that the Pro’s and Con’s of both photogrammetry and Lidar. And how they could complement each other.


This chapter was probably the whole point of the thesis. I talked about Photogrammetry in VR, Games and the new 360 film medium. The opportunities of photogrammetry in these new fields and how it is already applied in some games, VR and 360 films. I singled out some games like “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” and “Star Wars Battlefront”, but also how helpfull it was in the 360 film HELP and some VR experiences.


This chapter I talked about the future of Photogrammetry and it’s growing possibilities because of technical development like the evolution of quality drones, computer photogrammetry software and computer hardware that allows us to keep throwing more at it.


And last but not least I walked the walk after talking the talk by testing it out my self. I described The whole workflow in detail and made a list about the do’s and dont’s in photogrammetry.

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