Alban Denoyel isn't just Sketchfab's Co-founder & CEO. He's also an active user of the platform. His scans, ranging from his family to a doctor's office, make it clear that the rules of photogrammetry are in hands of the scanner. We asked him a few questions about his process, and how folks just starting how can make the best scans possible for Looking Glass Portrait.
Why and how did you start doing photogrammetry?
I have always been fascinated by the concept of capture and digitalization. Before starting Sketchfab, I worked for 4 years in the 2D world of photography. After starting Sketchfab, I wanted to eat my own dog food, so to speak–be part of the community we were building, and also use the product as much as I could.
I also had a front row seat to all the new ways to create 3D content, photogrammetry being one of them, and I was super excited to try out all the tools. My first models were created with 123D catch, a photogrammetry app by Autodesk.
What kind of cameras do you use? What's your setup? What software do you prefer using?
I've always just used my smartphone as a camera. I have an iPhone, and the optics are great now. Having said that, I mostly use Metashape, which is one of the best photogrammetry software on the market, and also happens to be available for mac, which is what I use. When on the go, I also use Trnio, which is a photogrammetry app for iPhone. The setup really depends on what I scan, but I usually don't have much of a setup, I'm not a pro :) I just try to make my scans outside on a grey day ideally.
What do you like to capture? What's your favorite piece you've created
My 4 main things to capture are shoes, cars, food and my kids :) I have a lot of scans of all those. I really love this 3D scan of my son William, and otherwise this scan of a Stan Smith, which I consider to be my first "nice scan", truly complete, with top and bottom.
For anyone just getting started in photogrammetry, what sage advice do you have for them?
Here are a few:
- Know what to scan. Photogrammetry doesn't work well with shiny, reflective stuff, thin things, plain things.
- Lighting matters a lot
- The more and better the photos, the better the scan
- Practice, practice, practice
- Share/publish your scans! It will hold you accountable, you'll gather feedback and progress
Why is 3D visualization in the Looking Glass Portrait system exciting for photogrammetry?
I like the standalone aspect of the Looking Glass portrait, for me it's a bit like the photo frame of the future. Photogrammetry is unlocking 3D creation for every creator, and Looking Glass Portrait is a great output to revisit that content.
There are many ways to capture the world around you, but few mediums are as literal as photogrammetry. Stitching tens or hundreds of photos together to create a 3D representation of a space or object has become increasingly easy over the years. It's time there was a display that made viewing those scans as easy.
Ready to join the online community that's capturing the world one scan at a time? Then head on over to Sketchfab to start sharing your own 3D scans today.
To pre-order Looking Glass Portrait, head over to look.glass/portrait