How it is working

Comprehensive Feature List

PM=PhotoModeler; PMS=PhotoModeler Scanner; PMU=PhotoModeler UAS.

Model ObjectsPMPMSPMUVersion Introduced
Points, Lines, Edges, Cylinders

The basic building blocks of 3D modeling: 3D points, lines, edges (lines without matching end points across photos), and cylinders.

Points that are automatically detected on 'interesting' features in photos.
Volume Objects

An object that makes it easier to document and measure 2.5D volumes (like stockpiles)
Curves: referenced and fit through points, NURBS

3D splines from matching two or more 2D photo splines, or by fitting through 3D points.
4 & 5

Surface types: triangle, path, NURBS fit to points, loft, sweep, revolution, cone.
4 & 5
Mesh Surfaces

Dense, triangulated and point-cloud surfaces.
3D Planes

3D Planes along an axis, or fit to selected points, lines or contours.
Shapes / Solids

Cuboids, pyramids, etc. generated from matching user-marked edges on one or more photos.
Silhouette solids

'Organic' solids created by marking and referencing 2D silhouettes on multiple photos.
Surface Draw

Points, lines and curves drawn on a 3D surface from a single photograph.
Contours on mesh surfaces

Extracted contour lines at user-defined intervals on a mesh surface.
Minor contours

Provide display different characteristics for minor vs major contours.
Profile curves on mesh surfaces

Extracted profile curves from intersection of a user-defined plane with a mesh surface.
Offset points

Automatically compute virtual 3d points from single and doubled points of known relationships. Useful for many measurement tasks with inaccessible or hard to reach points.

Solid RGB colors with specular controls, and photo-texturing on created 3D surfaces.

Detailed textures for 3D viewing and export extracted from original photographs. From single photos or blended from multiple photos with occlusion checking optional.
Corrected Textures

Photo-textures, pulled from photos, have all perspective and lens distortion aberations removed, and then with multi-photo blending options provide superior results.

Group objects logically for viewing and export.


Measurement / Accuracy / ReviewPMPMSPMUVersion Introduced
Bundle adjustment

The main photogrammetric algorithm that generates accurate 3D data from photographic marks and camera information.
Camera calibration

Offline high-accuracy calibration of cameras from provided pattern. Solves for focal length, pixel size, principal point and lens distortions.
Field calibration

Ability to calibrate a camera's internal parameters simultaneously with solving a real measurement project.

During SmartMatch improve a camera's calibration for higher accuracy.
Sub-pixel targets

2D center-finding of circular, high-contrast targets to sub-pixel precision - used to improve overall accuracy of 3D point projects.
Sphere targets

Precise center finding of sphere targets in photos. Great for laser scanner data integration.
Charts and Graphs

Chart and graph key quality metrics (such as point residuals, angles, and photo connectivity).
Residuals and precision reporting

Reporting of point residuals and bundle precisions to aid with assessing accuracy and troubleshooting.
3D confidence region display

Points in the 3D viewer can be displayed with error ellipsoids corresponding to the true deviation and correlations of errors. It graphically shows you the direction of and relative precision of each point.
3D view light ray display

Show the 'light rays' between camera positions and points in the 3D viewer to depict their relationships. For single points, all points on a photo or multiple selections.

Spread-sheet-like data tables showing information on photos, model objects, etc. With configurable columns, sorting, etc.
On-photo dimensions

Parametric dimension lines shown photographs between user-chosen points. Can be exported.
Measurement Pane

Scrolling list of user-directed measurements between model objects such as: point to point, point to line, line to line, point to surface, angles, volumes, and areas.
Check distances and points

Special tables that show current error differences between user-entered distances and the computed distances. Similarly for 3D points with x,y,z and distance errors shown.
Point review pane

Display of image sub-regions centered on all references of a selected point. Great for fast review and modification of point position on multiple photos.
Project review pane

Wizard and user-interface pane that gives intelligent feedback on project quality and possible issues.
Colorize mesh height field

Color 'code' the height in a point cloud to more easily see height variations and characteristics.
Colorize mesh surface models

False-color mesh surfaces by height and by number of photo overlap.
Fiducial support for film cameras

Film camera aren't used much now but when they are, to be made accurate measuring devices internal camera marks, called fiducials, are needed. PhotoModeler supports user-defined fiducial and reseau spaces.
Line Object Extend

Lines, Cylinders and Edges have a property which extends the object in 3D by a given percentage. In the 3D viewer see dashed-line extensions on either end of the object - useful for visualizing where two or more lines or cylinders intersect in 3D space.
Auditing functions

Audit dialog provides overview data on model objects and their quality.
Measurement Units

Handle different measurement units for display, import and export: km, m, cm, mm, mile, yd, ft, survey ft (2014.1), & in.


Work Flow & ProcessPMPMSPMUVersion Introduced
Accessible high-quality phone and email supportbase
Context-sensitive and hyper-linked help

Extensive help file with links from the program dialogs to give context, as well as extensive internal hyper-links for easy browsing.
Private Local Processing

Processing is carried out on local computer and is private.

Automatic extraction and matching of natural feature points in images, and the orientation and processing to produce 3D data.
Dense Surface Modeling

Extraction of dense 3d point clouds by matching textured surfaces across images.
Multi-View Stereo

Dense surface model extraction with easier and higher quality MVS method.
Automatic Target Marking

Automatic search, and high-precision marking, of circular dot targets in one or more images.
Automatic Referencing

Automatic matching/referencing of non-coded targets and photo points in images.
Auto surfacing on points

Creation of triangulated surfaces from auto-marked, and auto-referenced points.
Coded targets

Coded Targets are dot targets that can be marked to high precision and have unique code rings that the program can read to uniquely identify the points and match/reference them. Great for automated high accuracy projects. Coded targets can be printed on your own laser printer at different sizes.
Template targets

Targets that can be automatically detected that are of user defined shape and not circular dots.
Point Auto-detect

Automatically detect, mark and reference points in other photographs from a single mark in one photograph.
Auto-detect control

Automatically detect, mark and reference control points and multi-point transform points in other photographs from a single mark in one photograph.
Single photo support

The ability to extract information from a single photograph using various constraints such as known points or line relationships.
Single photo full calibration

The ability to do a full camera calibration from a single photo with sufficient control points. Great for forensics with wide angle cameras.
Low photo-count support

The ability to extract useful information from 2 or 3 photographs - common in forensic cases, or where you did not take the photos.
Inverse camera

Reconstruct camera parameters (such as focal length, principal point and pixel shape) from photos and constraints for unknown cameras. Great tool in forensics.

Remove lens distortion and other camera effects from photos to make them 'ideal' (as if from a pin-hole camera). Good for background perspective matching in external rendering and animation software.
Photo Sets

Group photos into logical sets for viewing and processing. Good for projects with a large number of photos.
Camera library

A library where camera calibration data can be easily stored and retreived.
Mesh modify tools

Tools for filling holes, decimating, smoothing, etc. dense point meshes.
Triangulated mesh slice and crop

Tool to create clean edges by slicing and cropping triangulated meshes.
Water-tight mesh creation

Create a triangulated mesh that is water-tight - great for export to 3D printing.
Project Merge

Merge multiple projects together into one project with a consistent coordinate system.
Texture masks

A bit mask that controls what part of a photo is used a source of texture data.
DSM masks

A bit mask that controls what part of a photo is scanned for dense surface modeling.
Chroma-key & alpha masks

Create bit masks from input alpha-channels or chroma-keys (blue/green backgrounds).
Motion - type 1

Track targets across frames to produce 3D models over time - using multiple synced cameras.
Motion - type 2

Track targets across video frames where object moves slowly and one camera is used.
Enhanced photo viewing

Modify a photo's rotation, brightness and contrast for easier viewing.
Photo visibility control

Control over what objects, types and layers appear on photos - to reduce clutter if need be.
User Point Tags

Easy method of 'tagging' a point for future reference.
ZIP Backup

One command to save all relevant project data (photos, and data files) in one zip file for easy storage or transmission.

Run script commands in a console, or load a text file with commands. See External Programmability below.
Multi-core support for speeding up core algs 2010
Post-Processed Kinematics GPS

Process data from a UAV and base station with PPK data for high accuracy UAV surveys with no or minimal ground control points.
64bit OS & large memory support 2011


User InterfacePMPMSPMUVersion Introduced
Getting Started panel

Easy-to-use panel that appears when program starts for creating new projects, loading existing projects, and accessing various resources.
Modern user interface

Modern user interface with paned windows, toolbars and pop-up help.
Customizable user interface

Toolbars, short-cut keys, window layouts, and table configurations are all user configurable.
3d viewer

Window for displaying the resulting 3D models, meshes, textures, etc.
Photo 3D projections

Display the 3D model data on top of, and projected onto the originating photographs.
3d viewer stereo display

View the 3D viewer with true depth - using stereo glasses.
3d viewer photo display

Display a small version of the photograph in its correct location and orientation in the 3D view.

Install themes to change user interface colors, shading effects and button styles.
Installable user interfaces

Install a set of toolbars and window configurations to simplify the interface or specialize it for a particular tasks. E.g. Road Scene Toolbar.
Status bar

Always-visible, immediate feedback of project quality and state.
Alert pop-up

Pop-up window to provide suggestions and immediate feedback of state change.
Pop-up information boxes

Mouse over features and photos and get immediate detailed information in a pop-up window that disappears as easily as it appeared.
Network floating license support

Run multiple licenses on a LAN.
Dongle-free license

Modern license control with ability to transfer. No hardware dongle.
Selection control

Various tools to help find points and features in photos faster - the W key to highlight all referenced data on other photos, the sub-select highlight for immediate other-photo selection feedback, and zoom-about to provide selection-centered photo zoom control.
Zoom control

Various photo zoom functions such as mouse wheel zoom, zoom pop-up window, alternate keys to access zoom, etc.
Epi-polar reference helper lines

Lines that appear in other photos during manual point referencing to indicate where the other point should be.


External InterfacesPMPMSPMUVersion Introduced
Multiple Image types loaded

JPEG, Tiff, BMP, Paintbrush, Targa, PNG, Pict, Photoshop, PPM, MAC, IFF, CALS Raster, PhotoCD, SGI, & MS Hdphoto.
Film, digital and video camera support

Load, and use effectively, photographic stills from digital, video and film cameras.
Import Videos

Import video in mov, mp4, avi, wmv, 3gp, and mpg formats (depending on codec - h.264 is included), with manual and automated frame extraction.
Multiple 3D export formats

3D Studio (3ds and Max), Rhino 3DM, CSV, DXF, Filmbox, IGES, Google Earth, ASPRS LAS, Maya script, Wavefront-OBJ, STL, VRML, BYU, & Facet.
Export photo-textured models

Export of 3D data with mapped and corrected photographic texture files in 3DS, OBJ, VRML and 3DM formats.
Export ortho-mosaic mapped models

Export 2.5D surfaces with mapped texture UV from high quality ortho-mosaics. Great for aerial and drone projects.
Print/output views

Print and copy to clipboard the contents of photo views, table views, and 3d views. Table views can be easily exported to Excel as well.
Orthophoto creation

Creation and export of a remapped image that has an orthographic projection (all effects of perspective are removed) and to scale.
Orthophoto blending, masks & occlusions

Advanced orthophoto creation capabilities: blending-blend multiple photos to reduce exposure varation; masks-mask out unwanted items; occlusion checking-remove texture from blocking geometry
Point coordinate transforms

Three or more externally defined points or axes to define coordinate systems.
Multiple scales

Photogrammetric projects are scaleless until a scale is defined. One or more scale distances can be provided.
Geographical coord systems

Import external 3D data in a geographic system as well as specify the ouput geographic system used for exports. GPS and survey data. Support for camera stations, points assigned geo coords and as control or transforms.
Independent coordinate system axes

Define the coordinate system axes (X, Y, Z) by chosing independent points and/or lines. With a Wizard to help set up the common and easy scenarios.
Control points

Import of known 3D data points (from a survey or other source) to control the orientation and coordinate system of the 3D project.

User specified constraints on parallel and perpendicular relationships.
Import 3D objects

Import of 3D files to combine with and overlay with photographic and created 3D data.
Auto-assignment of import data

Automatically assign control, pinned and multi-point transform points to associated points in the project. Points can be assigned by matching user name or point IDs.
Mesh and point cloud import

Import of point clouds (LAS, STL, OBJ, PLY, BYU, FACET, DAT, TXT).
 6 & 2010
Align laser scanner point clouds

Import a laser scanner point cloud and some matching target points, and align with an existing PhotoModeler Scanner project of same area.
Colorize laser scanner point clouds

Import a laser scanner point cloud and match it to the photographs, then automatically extract the color value from projection on one or more photographs to produce an RGB point cloud.
Read EXIF GPS info from images

Some camera systems can store accurate geographic coordinates of the camera location in each image's EXIF tags. PhotoModeler can load this data and use it in a multi-point transform to set up an accurate geo coordinate system. Great for UAVs that have geo-tagging cameras.
Pre-defined coded target coordinates

User-defined coordinate transform points tied to coded target ids, for automatic assignment and project coordinate system setup.
3D animation export

Export animations (fly-throughs etc.) to various video formats.
Upload to YouTube

Upload of 3d viewer animations directly to YouTube.
External programmability

Control the program (create projects, mark photographs, dense surface modeling, smartmatch, etc.) from an exernal programming language.
Flexible text and CSV import

Flexible import of 3d points and distances from csv, space-seperated data files. Control over which rows and columns to import and their order. Great for survey, and point cloud import from external instruments and programs.
Multispectral image support

Load and create image analyses (like NDVI) with multispectral cameras.
PDF Report Generation

Generate a good looking pdf report of the project for internal use or client submission.


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