How and When to use PhotoModeler's Automated Coded Targets

PhotoModeler’s target detection and marking tools are used when highly accurate 3D XYZ points are needed at key locations. PhotoModeler automatically detects applied or projected targets and solves for an accurate set of 3D points representing each target center. Coded targets provide the additional ability to automatically reference targets between photos. The resulting points can be used for line, curve, and surface modeling, or measurement and export as needed.

Appropriate Subjects | Photography | Examples | Tools to Use | Other Resources


The appropriate subjects for target detection projects are those with curved or complex surfaces that don’t have distinct feature points. Also good when the very highest point accuracy is required. PhotoModeler’s unique coded targets provide complete automation for many projects.

Ferrari Sample
door sample
blocks sample
hoodfan sample
pliers sample
rubiks sample


Apply targets to the object or scene, then take photos at convergent angles, covering the targeted area with suitable overlap. Separate the camera positions horizontally and vertically if possible, while ensuring targets are not photographed at too shallow an angle, as shown below:

Building Example
Statue Example


Here are some examples using this technique - with a brief description, a sample photo, the camera positions, and the 3D model for each:

Sample Photo
Photography Pattern
3D Result
  • Car
  • 33 photos
  • target points, lines, curves, surfaces
  • door sample door sample door sample
  • Car roof-top ski box
  • 9 photos
  • target marking, curves, loft surfaces
  • door sample
    door camera positions
    door sample 3D
  • Wooden bowl
  • 4 photos
  • projected targets
  • automated surfacing
  • hood fan sample photo
    hood fan sample cameras
    hood fan 3D
  • Stairway and treads
  • 70 photos
  • coded target marking
  • offset target points
  • wireframe model
  • blocks sample photo
    blocks camera positions
    blocks  sample 3D
  • Helmet
  • 22 photos
  • automated target marking
  • curves, loft surfaces
  • tool sample photo
    Pliars camera positions
    Tool 3D
  • Fan/propeller in motion
  • 3 photos
  • automated target marking
  • motion tracking*
  • Rubik's Cube photo sample
    Rubik's Camera Position
    Rubik's 3D
    * requires Scanner's Motion Tool

    The STEPS

    PhotoModeler tools used in these projects:

    • Automated and Manual Target Point Marking – mark points at key targeted locations for high accuracy measurement and modeling.
    • Add line, curve, surface and other entities to build up the model shape.

    The STEPS

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