In this article:
- Create a New PhotoMesh Project and Add Photos to the Project
- Set a Preview Area, Use Fusers and Set the Working Folder
- Build the Project, Define the Final Project Area and Check Camera Coverage
Important: This article is based on the PhotoMesh 7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial. Download tutorial (including demo project) >
Create a New PhotoMesh Project and Add Photos to the Project
Creating a New PhotoMesh Project
- Click Start > Skyline PhotoMesh > PhotoMesh.
- Click the PhotoMesh button, and then click New (CTRL+N). The New Project dialog box is displayed.
- In the Name field, type “MyFirstPhotoMeshProject”.
- In the Path field, browse to .\7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\Project\ (Full path required) and click OK. A new PhotoMesh project is created.
- All the paths referenced in the manual are relative to the extracted 7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial folder.
- If there is no network access, the Terrain Database dialog is displayed, in which you can select a different terrain database. Select the second option button: PhotoMesh default local terrain database.
Adding Photos to the Project
Photos can be loaded/imported into PhotoMesh using any of the following methods:
- Load photo files from disk
- Load an Excel/XML file with a list of photos, their file paths, and all photos and photo collection information, e.g., GPS tags, omega phi kappa values, focal length, and pixel size
- Load a CSV file with a list of photos and more limited photo information: only XYZ and OPK/YPR data
- Extract individual frames from a video file and load them as image files
- Import photos with their metadata so you can skip the AT process
All of the above options are accessible from the Photos Wizard.
In this tutorial, we demonstrate the Excel photo list import. Click here to learn about alternative ways to load photos.
- On the PhotoMesh Home tab, click Photos, and then select Load a Photo List File from the Add Photos Wizard. The Load a Photo List File dialog is displayed.
- Browse to .\PhotoMesh7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\Photos\Frederick.xlsx and then click Open. The photos are loaded into the project and and the photo collections are listed in the Collections - Item list. Information about individual photos in a collection is available from the Photos - Item list. The Item List displays a list of all the items in the currently selected Project Tree group, and information about each item. The default location for the List panel is under the 3D Window.
Project Tree and Item List after the Photo Import
- On the Home tab, in the Area group, from the AT Area drop-down list select Fly to Area to fly to the project area.
- Click the PhotoMesh button , and then click Save (Ctrl+S) to save the project.
Set a Preview Area, Use Fusers and Set the Working Folder
Setting a Preview Area
The build process entails a series of sequential steps beginning with photo preparation, followed by aerotriangulation (AT), then three reconstruction steps (point cloud creation, model creation, model texturing), and finally project output. Aerotriangulation and reconstruction can each be performed either on the entire project or on specific project sections by defining AT and reconstruction areas.
In order to avoid unnecessary processing of a massive amount of data, it is recommended to perform a preliminary build on a small subset of the project. This enables you to validate all the project’s settings and parameters and check the resulting aerotriangulation (AT) and reconstruction tiles before processing the full project.
- On the Tools tab, in the Objects and Layers group, click Imagery Layer. The Browse for Imagery Layer dialog box is displayed.
- Browse to .\PhotoMesh7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\ImageryLayer\ Frederick_nadir_2.5cm_20141001.jp2 and click Open. The imagery layer is added to the project.
Note: You can overlay the default terrain database with higher resolution imagery and elevation raster layers, as well as terrain objects, generally to enable you to visualize how the model will appear in TerraExplorer’s 3D World (Tools > Objects and Layers). In this case, we overlaid the terrain with an imagery layer to make it easier to designate where to draw an AT Area polygon in the steps below.
- On the Home tab, in the Area group, from the AT Area drop-down list, select Redraw AT Area.
- In the 3D Window, draw an AT Area polygon around the area indicated in the figure below (Click in the required locations and right-click to finish editing the polygon). The AT Area is framed by a white polygon.
Note: In the Message log, a message is displayed indicating the number of photos included in the AT area.
- On the Home tab, in the Area group, from the Reconstruction Area drop-down list toggle on the Same as AT Area check box. The Reconstruction Area is framed by a light green polygon.
Note: The AT Area polygon is hidden in this case by the Reconstruction Area polygon since the same area was set for both.
Preview Build Area
Using Fusers and Setting the Working Folder
PhotoMesh fusers are the worker components of PhotoMesh, which allow you to share the demanding processing requirements of the different build steps (photo preparation, AT, point cloud, mesh model, texture, 3DML/other outputs) between several computers on the same network. When beginning the build process, the PhotoMesh Build Manager application determines what build steps are required and assigns them to the different fusers. PhotoMesh Build Manager and PhotoMesh fusers use the working folder to communicate: to deposit and collect pending tasks, and share information about fuser availability, status and progress. Before beginning the build process, you should start the fusers that will be participating in the build, and set their working folder. The working folder on each of the fuser computers must be set to the same network folder as was set for the master computer. More about: Setting the working folder (on the master computer) >
- Click Start > Skyline PhotoMesh > PhotoMesh Fuser. A PhotoMesh fuser icon is placed in the Windows system tray.
Note: If running a fuser for the very first time, a PhotoMesh Fuser dialog is displayed asking you to set the location of the working folder. Browse to .\PhotoMesh7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\WorkingFolder\ (full path is required here) and click Select Folder. You can then skip steps 3-5.
- Click the PhotoMesh Fuser icon, and then click Open PhotoMesh Fuser. The PhotoMesh Fuser dialog box is displayed.
- In the PhotoMesh Fuser dialog, click Change to select a different location for the working folder. The Select Folder dialog is displayed.
- Browse to .\PhotoMesh7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\WorkingFolder\ (full path required here) and click Select Folder.
PhotoMesh Fuser Dialog
- When using computer clusters:
- The path to the working folder must be in UNC format to enable network data transfer: [UNC Master] + \PhotoMesh7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\WorkingFolder. For example: \\Machine1\c\PhotoMesh7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\WorkingFolder
- Both PhotoMesh and PhotoMesh fusers require read-write access to the working and project folders, as well as to the photos folder.
Build the Project, Define the Final Project Area and Check Camera Coverage
- Building the Project
- Defining the Final Project Area and Checking Camera Coverage
- Starting the Build
Building the Project
In this section, we finalize project preparations by setting build parameters, and then begin the build.
- On the Home tab, in the Build group, click Build. The Build Parameters dialog is displayed.
Note: The Build Parameters dialog provides two main views for setting build parameters: A simplified view that consolidates all the main settings under a single tab (“Build Settings”), and an advanced view that enables manual setting of relevant parameters. When using the advanced settings, you can select from a list of Build Presets that make it easy to automatically set the required parameters to generate the optimum output for the project’s data as well as to share user-defined build settings between projects. Presets only include changes from the default settings.
When performing a build, the default option is "Complete Project" - PhotoMesh automatically determines what processing must be performed to build the outputs and complete the project, avoiding unnecessary avoiding unnecessary rebuilding. You can also perform an "AT Only" build or a "Custom" build that enables you to customize what build steps to perform.
- Click the Build button. The New build description (Build_1) dialog is displayed.
New Build Description Dialog
- Type “Preview Area” and then click Ok. The PhotoMesh Build Manager dialog is displayed.
- Click the Browse button and change the Build Manager’s Working Folder path to “.\7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\WorkingFolder” (full path is required), e.g., “C:\7.7.0 - Quick Start Tutorial\WorkingFolder” (the same location as the one set for the fusers).
- Select the check boxes of all available fusers, and then click Build.
Monitoring and Checking the Results of the Build
Note: As the build process is progressing, the 3D Window displays the interim build results and PhotoMesh Build Manager displays information about the current step and active fusers. You can also monitor progress in the Item List by selecting AT Tiles or Reconstruction Tiles in the Project Tree. The respective AT/Reconstruction tile is listed in the Item List with information about the number of photos in the tile, error status, etc. When the build is finished, you can also set the select the applicable User Status, indicating what actions still need to be performed on the tile, e.g., rebuild, editing or external retouch.
- When the preview build is finished, the Build Finish dialog is displayed. Select the Show 3DML check box to add the 3DML to the Project Tree, and then click OK.
- Close PhotoMesh Build Manager.
Build Finish Dialog
- On the Home tab, in the Tiles group, click AT Tiles. The finished AT tile is displayed in the 3D Window.
- In the 3D Window, hover anywhere on the AT tile to display the number of photos used and successfully calculated.
- In the 3D Window, click the AT tile. The Tile tab is displayed.
- In the Calculated Photos group, toggle on Calculated to view the photos in their calculated positions.
- On the Tile tab, in the Original Photos group, toggle on Original to view the photos’ original positions.
Original and Calculated Photos after AT Calculation
Note: The yellow and green pyramids symbolize the original and calculated cameras, respectively. A cuboctahedron indicates a rotation that could not be calculated or was set to be ignored by the user.
- On the Home tab, in the Tiles group click Reconstruction Tiles. The finished reconstruction tile is displayed in the 3D Window.
- In the 3D Window, hover over the reconstruction tile to display the number of photos used.
- Click the reconstruction tile. The Tile tab is displayed.
- On the Tile tab, in the Show group, click Point Cloud. The point cloud is displayed in the 3D Window.
- On the Tile tab, in the Show group click Model. The model is displayed in the 3D Window.
- On the Tile tab, in the Show group click Textured Model. The textured model is displayed in the 3D Window.
Defining the Final Project Area and Checking Camera Coverage
- On the Home tab, in the Review group click Review Mode. The Review mode is toggled off.
- On the Home tab, in the Photos group, from the Coverage Map drop-down list select Coverage Map from Original. The original coverage map is projected on the terrain and a coverage map legend is displayed as a screen overlay.
Note: The coverage map is a color-coded map that indicates the directions of camera coverage in every point of the AT area. This enables you to identify which areas of the project have full coverage and which are lacking coverage, and from which directions.
- Toggle off the Coverage Map to hide the map.
- On the Home tab, in the Area group, from the AT Area drop-down list, select Redraw AT Area.
- In the 3D Window, draw an AT Area polygon around the area indicated in the figure below (Click in the required locations and right-click to finish editing the polygon).
- On the Home tab, in the Area group, from the Reconstruction Area drop-down list toggle on the Same as AT Area check box.
Final Project Area
- On the Home tab, in the Photos group, toggle on the Coverage Map.
- To ensure proper coverage of the project area, check that the reconstruction area’s boundaries are within the green area of the Coverage Map, indicating “full coverage”.
- Toggle off the Coverage Map.
Starting the Build
- On the Home tab, in the Build group, click Build. The Build Parameters dialog is displayed. Click the Build button. The New build description (Build_2) dialog is displayed.
- Type “Entire Area” and then click Ok. The PhotoMesh Build Manager dialog is displayed.
- Select the check boxes of all available fusers and then click Build.
Note: The expected production times for a 9 gigapixel project (0.06 km2 and 3 cm GSD) on an i7 10th generation, 8 core CPU, with 16 GB RAM, and a local SSD drive are as follows:
- Approximately 20 minutes for photo preparation (207 photos)
- 2 minutes for a single AT tile
- 7 hours and 30 minutes for the reconstruction tiles
The total machine time adds up to 7 hours and 55 minutes (approximately 52 minutes per gigapixel).
- A dialog is displayed when the build is finished. Select the Show 3DML check box to add the 3DML to the Project Tree.
- In the Project Tree, double-click the newly added 3DML to fly to it.
More about: Loading your mesh layer into TerraExplorer Pro >