Photogrammetry photorealistic photoscans realistic

Photogrammetry in Environment Design

Adam Jarosz and Michał Mierzejewski talked about their challenge Abandoned Manufacturing unit Buildings, a sensible setting created with the help of photogrammetry. The scene might be bought on UE4 Market.


Hi! We are Adam Jarosz and Michał Mierzejewski from Poland. We presently work in studio The Farm 51 on the Chernobyliteproject (made in UE4). We each have over 7 years of experience, we have now been working collectively for 4 years on such tasks as GetEven (PC/PS4/xBox), Chernobyl VR Challenge (Ocullus, HTC Vive) and the mentioned before, Chernobylite (PC).

We complement our competences and our cooperation at work was so good that we decided to do an after-hours undertaking. We’ve got all the time seen the longer term in photogrammetry and we had a number of expertise with it so we decided to use it. Abandoned Manufacturing unit Buildings is a scene based mostly on photogrammetric scans, which we want to share with you. We’ll try to current you our strategy to the subject of using scans in real-time.


Adam: I build levels, make them look nice and work completely. I’m somebody between Degree artist/Degree Design and Technical. I dedicate a variety of attention to lighting. For this venture, I also maintain the entire venture concept, supplies, and advertising stuff.

Michal: I’m 3D Artist with photogrammetry expertise and my primary aim is to organize the optimum photorealistic recreation prepared belongings. For this undertaking, I did all photogrammetry scans and virtually all 3D fashions.

Strategy to Photogrammetry

Michal: My strategy to photogrammetry is straightforward – simply scan the world! I take my digital digital camera with me in all places – the scene we created was based mostly on my photograph database taken, among other things, throughout family walks.

At present, photogrammetry has develop into a regular, however once I began to experiment with it in 2014, it wasn’t so well-liked, there have been a number of info, tutorials – I discovered every little thing alone errors. As you realize, photogrammetry provides wonderful results but in addition has its limits – similar to gear, expertise, endurance and lots of calculations.

At The Farm 51, I take footage mainly with the Nikon D7500 however I additionally work with a high-class Faro Focus laser scanner. I’m liable for the current surroundings pipeline in Chernobylite challenge – from scan to the final mannequin.

Privately I exploit an affordable Nikon D3400 primarily with Nikkor 35mm and my favourite universal Tamron 17-50 mm shiny lens. I all the time take pictures in guide mode to have full management. After scanning session, I take references and photographs for textures. The scanned object should have the “character” – the correct quantity of details as a result of it is simpler to wash the scan than to add particulars that may look practical.

As a result of working with scans needs coping with a huge amount of knowledge, the group is essential. The construction/nomenclature of our library must be standardized with preview miniatures.

I’ve to confess that I really like working in terrain, it is a great detachment from workplace everyday life. Additionally it is an ideal excuse to stay in nature and go to fascinating locations. For example, due to photogrammetry, I visited Chernobyl for greater than 11 occasions.

Dealing with Lighting and Shadows in the Pictures

Adam: From the attitude of the level, the primary drawback with scans could also be sharp shadows burned on albedo textures. We simply can’t afford it. If the source materials is dangerous, it’s often far more sensible to do it once more than attempt to reserve it at any worth.

Nevertheless, in relation to micro-shadows, you’ll be able to battle with it or you need to use it correctly. A small variety of such shades will present us with a element that could be very troublesome to create from the light in the engine or it’s a very expensive production. I exploit a lightmass in the UE4 which allows drawing large details corresponding to that discovered in photogrammetry. This isn’t a 100% PBR strategy nevertheless it supplies us unprecedented high quality in comparison with commonplace pipelines. To point out that it works, we needed to create a day and night time scene.

In relation to how specular works on a degree, probably the most difficult is the right setup of light, roughness, submit processes and the sky itself. Only a proper stability of all these parameters ensures a real feeling of the extent. The fitting reference database helps in it. I was inspired by Tim Simpson‘s strategy who additionally collects qualitative references for different tasks. This makes it very straightforward to find out the design framework, which is very important whereas working after hours. That you must know when to tell your self sufficient.

A good idea for degree design has a huge effect on the final effect. At this stage, already on the primary blockouts, I had base lighting and the whole degree structure. In some features, it helped so much that for the blockout we had a decimate elevation and props models.

Michal: Once we scan objects akin to containers, wrecks and even complete buildings, it isn’t attainable to do it indoors.

Once we work outdoors, the climate may be our biggest supporter but in addition an enemy. The cloudy day is ideal. In scanned rooms, you possibly can cover windows and use a number of sources of synthetic lighting. I also wish to work with flash lamps with diffusers – then the scanning course of could be very efficient and the shadows are leveled.

In fact, I all the time work with RAW image format – photograph processing is one other straightforward strategy to eliminate light-shadows in Lightroom. Eradicating shadows is usually a really time-consuming process, typically requiring guide tweak. The better the input material is the better it is to realize an excellent end outcome. As stated, typically it isn’t value enhancing one thing and if we’ve got the chance to repeat the scanning course of to save lots of time, we do it.

Cleansing Scanned Belongings

Michal: For scans, I exploit Capturing Actuality. If RAW scan requires it I clean it and then retopo (I want guide however typically automated additionally works), UV and bake texture in Marmoset. Then come texture tweaks (I also often generate a traditional map from albedo and mix it with the traditional map from the scan to extend the quantity of small element), the final fixes and model is in the engine.

Originally of the method, apart from HP, I put together its decimated model with one small texture – it is a whitebox that has the size and orientation of the ultimate mannequin. With this decimate mannequin we will begin to shortly prototype the level and draw conclusions whether or not the scan is beneficial or not.

Modular pieces:

Engaged on the Supplies

Adam: On the subject of working with materials, we should always point out the strategy to roughness texture. A lot of people asked us what pipeline we used to create such a real material. Magnificence lies in simplicity. I created a quite simple material which, in the previous method, transforms the R albedo channel into roughness. Within the material, you can even control the brightness, distinction, invert and the power to upload your personal roughness. An appropriate setup does this for 90% of belongings on stage.

We stored such an order that at any time we might control a lot of the belongings globally.

From my perspective, I favor to stick to simple supplies and edit all belongings as simply as potential till the top of the venture. Loads of complicated supplies take time and unnecessarily complicate the modifying at the moments when quick iterations matter. I create more difficult features on the very end of the challenge in the final last touch.


Adam: Precisely as with the supplies, I used to be also guided by simplicity right here. Easy use of the differential cloud and converting it to regular map + peak map + mask gave me a really clean and sufficiently diversified base.

Every part is related to at least one landscape material with tile in world area. I used a further decal puddle to cross the range. In the long run, the effect is complemented by the tessellation of the height map of pebbles, which completely pierces the sides of the puddles.

The essential situation for the puddles to be seen in the scene is the stability between the brightness of the sky and the rest of the setting.

Making Small Props

Michal: Small parts similar to bricks are all the time scanned on the turntable – aside from single bricks, I additionally put together some units of them. Kinds of belongings as bricks, stones or debris can by solely decimated to a satisfactory variety of triangles, but personally, I favor guide retopology. We ought to be cautious right here – too much simplification in geometry can lose the pure irregularity of such objects, so every little thing needs to be in stability – the number of polygons in relation to the final effect. In the long run, it’s value to remember to generate automated LODs in the UE4.

We also needs to keep in mind that even when we scan something, we don’t have to have one unique object – as in the case of a palette – it was enough to separate several boards to get a whole lot of meshes.


One of many issues we confronted was how you can keep the level of detail present on scans inside the complete scene. We rebuilt the scene a number of occasions before we thought “that’s it”. With scans as placeholders, it was straightforward to jump into the complexity of the scene and have a preview of how it might appear to be later.

Combining actual scans and models made traditionally was also not a simple thing to do. We frequently created textures from our own photographs and went away from hyper-realism to get a more game-like product.

Lastly, we have been just two individuals. We needed to cope with the subjects beforehand unknown to us. We really needed to create one thing that in our opinion is missing in video games. The time that others dedicate to movies, serials, and video games was devoted to this venture. It was awesome to not work alone as collectively, we stayed motivated. In the long run, it was additionally useful to publish on the forums or FB teams like 80lv Show and Tell.

Adam Jarosz & Michał Mierzejewski, 3D Artists

Interview carried out by Kirill Tokarev

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