DroneDeploy

3D Models

3D models are a great way to visualize your area of interest, and they'll automatically be processed on all of your DroneDeploy maps. Below is a guide to capturing oblique imagery during flight and uploading oblique imagery to DroneDeploy.com, as well as an example 3D model.

Read this guide to best ensure that your 3D models turn out like the "After" Map

Read this guide to best ensure that your 3D models turn out like the "After" Map

DroneDeploy was recently featured by Flite Test for a great video tutorial on 3D modeling. The process described in this video is explained below.

Adding more imagery to your DroneDeploy flight

If you're flying with the DroneDeploy app, complete one standard automated flight, and use the steps below to supplement your images.

See here for instructions to add images to your existing map.

Orbit at End of Mission

Enabling Orbit at End of Mission during planning will allow you to automatically capture oblique photos of object in the center.

The orbit is performed at the set flight altitude and in most cases within the flight boundaries. The camera angle is adjusted automatically (depending upon flight altitude and distance from the center).

Enabling Orbit at End of Mission

Enabling Orbit at End of Mission

Process for image capture

Capturing oblique imagery is critical to improving the appearance and shape reconstruction of 3D models.

Oblique imagery

A set of oblique images consists of photos taken at short intervals during a rotation around the desired object at a fixed altitude, fixed radius, and fixed camera angle.

Example of difference:

No low-level obliques added.

No low-level obliques added.

With low level oblique images included.

With low level oblique images included.

To capture this data:

  1. Pilot the drone to the same altitude as the original mission. However, this time with an angle between the camera and the ground of 45 degrees.
  2. Navigate the drone at this altitude and camera gimbal angle until you have the entire object you wish to model in the frame of the shot. Depending on the size and surroundings of an object this camera angle or altitude may not work, so use your judgment.
  3. From this location pivot your drone in a radius around the object capturing photos as frequently as possible.

Tips

Higher overlap in both the DroneDeploy mission and oblique imagery will always produce higher quality models. This is achieved during manual flight by flying slower or taking photos faster.

You can think of the drone as a spray can, and the images as paint. When you fly the area of interest you want to take enough pictures to coat the area of interest with one coat of paint. One thing to remember is that obliques have a diminishing return, and if to many are taking can make it more difficult to stitch a map.

To improve 3D model recreation of objects with overhanging features, such as roofs eves or archways, capture oblique images taken at lower altitudes and shallower angles (Set 1).

Oblique images stitch best if there is no sky in the background (although sometimes it is unavoidable). Steeper camera angles usually capture less sky that is why camera angles less more than 45° are preferred (Sets 2 and 3).

Point of Interest tool in DJI

DJI pilots can use the point of interest tool to easily generate the orbits in the diagram above. Please see here for an instructional video.

Include Oblique Imagery During Upload

Upload your oblique imagery with your nadir imagery. For instructions to do this, please see How to Process Datasets.

Example 3D Model

Technique:

This map covered 1.3 acres and included 128 images.

Some images were directly above the object of interest to establish context.

Nadir image at 173 ft agl.

Nadir image at 173 ft agl.

Others were taken at oblique angles to capture the side details of the turret.

130 ft agl

130 ft agl

115 ft agl

115 ft agl

Where to from here?

You can check out our 3D model gallery on Sketchfab, see here for instructions to share your 3D model, or visit our forum to discuss 3D modeling tips with other drone pilots.

3D Models