Thursday, 21 July 2011 14:09

David and Photofly Goliath

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David McGahan of Ponoko asked a good question which made me wonder how well empires like Autodesk compare with our small my3dscanner amateurs’ team  (we started our project just 7 months ago). I was really excited downloading Photofly expecting a 3D revelation like Bundler and PMVS. Well, it is seems that Autodesk's new tool is not revolutionary, but is a very, very nice piece of 3D software.

I have run the tests with the same photo test both on My3D and Photofly and I have mixed feelings. First, straightforward comparison of the results is too difficult:

  • Autodesk and My3DScanner use different reconstruction paradigms, so sometimes My3D gets bad results while Autodesk are great, and vice versa. This depends on the object properties and scanning (photographing) techniques.
  • My3D tries to generate dense point clouds while a point cloud is only a secondary product of Autodesk reconstruction. So we can't compare point cloud quality directly.
  • Photofly generates great visual representation of an object, including video coverage (well, 30 sec avi of this model took 700MB of my computer's memory...). Their obvious goal is to generate a raw material model for further processing with Autodesk software products. My3D visualization tools are dependent on post-processing in a variety of free but standalone software like Meshlab, MeshMixer, etc. But this means My3D meshes and models can be used in any application.
  • My3D meshes are usually bigger than Autodesk’s, but this is only because My3D uses Poisson watertight reconstruction while Autodesk does uses different algorithms. So we cannot compare mesh size, density and quality directly.

Anyway, look at some screenshots. You will have problems finding a difference. The comparison needs more technical knowledge than mine but probably My3D doesn’t deserve such efforts yet anyway.

Well, I would say Autodesk's textured obj looks sharper tham My3D's vertex coloured mesh.

This is what I liked about Autodesk Photofly:

a)      Incredible speed. My3D is way behind.

b)      Rich editing, rendering and visualization tools.

c)      Good mesh quality.

d)      Fancy interface, easy learning, and rich plethora of features.

e)      Just nice software overall with a cozy name unlike My3DScanner.

This is what I didn’t like about Photofly:

i)        Windows only.

ii)       Autodesk only – not free (starting January 2012 Photofly will be integrated with Audtodesk products with no free service anymore).

I guess here retarded My3D's hole filling algorithm shows better results than Autodesk's. Again, this is tough to judge.

Our small team is very enthusiastic about every 3D development and will continue to improve our service to the extend it's possible given our limited resources. This is great to see what big guys are doing. It’s also encouraging to find out they are not that far ahead in some areas :)


  • Comment Link ondrej Tuesday, 30 August 2011 23:04 posted by ondrej

    jeff is right, keep up great krow guys, u r awesome !
    why they are so quick is just that they haave prolly immense computing power at their back. can u somehow quantise computing power needed for the photogrammetric reconstruction ? lets say 60photos at 3mpx ? on what hardware configuration does it tael how long ? for exemple, if run at home for ex i have 12 cores at 3,3ghz with 24gbRAM ? how long it would take ? maybe you could workt at the level of community collaboration and use 1000s of users' net-connected computers for increasing the speed of reconstructing models. is your algorithm distributable ? how many times would you need to increase your hardware capacities ot get at autodesks processing response speed?
    also i agree very much that direct meshing very much needed. make a collab with meshlab.
    wishing u all the best,

  • Comment Link Jeff Tuesday, 26 July 2011 15:15 posted by Jeff

    Yes, this is great my3dscanner can do similar work by Autodesk. But I hope my3dscanner incorporates rich features like scaling, decimation (Photofly suprisingly doesn't have it) and meshing with vertex color transfer so we do not need to use MeshLab using my3dscanner

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