One of the breakthrough techniques in creating realistic VR environments is known as Photogrammetry. Today we’re exploring what it is, how it works, and how we use it to create high-fidelity VR environments.

What is Photogrammetry?

Photogrammetry is the science and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects. It captures, measures, and analyzes images or patterns of electromagnetic radiant imagery. In a nutshell, photogrammetry creates a 3D model of a real-world object or location from multiple 2D photographs.

How Does Photogrammetry Work?

The process of photogrammetry follows a relatively straightforward path:

  1. First, you capture multiple photos from different angles of the object or place you want to model.
  2. The photogrammetry software compares points that appear in multiple images. Then it determines their position based on the difference between the images.
  3. It then stitches these data points together to create a 3D model with depth, dimensions, and texture.

Photogrammetry and VR

The beauty of photogrammetry is that VR developers have an affordable and accessible method to create realistic 3D models for VR environments.

One of the main advantages is the ability to create high-resolution, realistic textures. Since textures are pulled directly from photographic data, the results can be incredibly detailed, lending more accuracy and believability to the virtual environment.

Creating VR Environments Using Photogrammetry

The most basic workflow for creating VR environments using photogrammetry involves the following steps:

  1. Image Acquisition: This initial stage involves capturing hundreds, or even thousands, of photos of the location or object from multiple angles.
  2. Point Cloud Creation: Using software like Agisoft Metashape or RealityCapture, VR developers process images to create a point cloud (a set of vertices in a three-dimensional coordinate system).
  3. Mesh Generation: The point cloud data is then translated into a mesh, essentially creating the wireframe model.
  4. Texturing: After the mesh is constructed, textures ripped straight from the photos are overlaid on it, providing the model with necessary depth and detailing.
  5. Porting to VR: Once a textured 3D model is ready, it needs to be loaded into a game engine (like Unity or Unreal Engine) to allow interaction in the virtual environment.

Photogrammetry, when combined with virtual reality, is a potent mix that allows for the creation of ultra-realistic environments. These advances are fueling new opportunities, from gaming to tourism, heritage preservation, and well beyond.

Marco Lopes

Excessive Crafter of Things


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