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December 16, 2002

Zooming Through History

"RealViz today released ImageModeler 3.5 for Mac OS X, which offers an innovative and intuitive approach to creating 3D models. It extracts 3D information from photographs and helps users to measure and recreate accurate 3D models using automatic texturing from photographs.

Be still my heart! This looks like the perfect tool to carry out a longstanding dream of mine: to create a 3-D world that recreates my home town as it was 100 years ago. That's one of the reasons I've been collecting postcards of Waterbury.... and I now have over 200 of them. I've got images of almost every building downtown. ImageModeler lets you take 2-D photographs, trace them to identify the geometric primitives they're made of, grab the textures and create a model. The
case study on the site is amazing. In only 16 hours, one guy took photos of several streets full of buildings in San Francisco and turned them into a video flythrough that looks very very real.

This is very exciting, in spite of the $700 price tag. I guess this dream of mine is sparked by whatever hormone kicks in to turn normal middle aged men into model railroad geeks. Now if only days were 36 hours long, I could get around to actually doing this.