Point and Shoot? More Like Point and Fail!

Kate Daborowski

Last class period we, as a class, got to try creating a 3D model of the old chapel. When we first started the process I thought that this was the easiest process and tool that could be used. I mean who can’t go outside, take some pictures of a building, and then upload them in to a computer program and let it stitch all of the pictures together. When we were outside taking the pictures I begin to see one of the first challenges of this project: getting the entire height of the chapel into a single frame. Not only was this particularly difficult, but just generally getting the chapel captured was difficult due to trees and other object obstructing the view of the chapel. I realized how tedious and time consuming taking all of the pictures needed to make a rough 3D model of a building would be. This is when I truly began to realize that this process was not as point and shoot as I thought it was going to be.

            After we all finished taking our pictures, we ventured back inside the digital humanities lab and tried to use some of our photo sequences to actually create the 3D model that was desired. The first set of pictures only created a blurry picture that resembled the door of the old chapel. The second set of pictures, even though there were more pictures in the sequence, created something that resembled the old chapel even less than the first one. An object resembling a boulder with the shadow of the old chapel on the inside of it was created. At this point I realized that this tool was not easy to use at all. The amount of photos and the quality of the photos needed to create an adequate 3D model for a professor project would far surpass my current abilities. This is when I came to the conclusion that this tool was not a tool that anybody could just open up and use but took a lot of practice, both with picture taking and learning how to run the software, and patience.

            I found it really interesting that this digital humanities tool is really just a guess and check type of system. Unless you are a professional at using this tool it is impossible to know when you have enough pictures or if the pictures that were taken are of high enough quality to actually create the desired product. I could not imagine spending days upon days capturing an object and waiting for the program to create the model for it to just look like a blob of undistinguishable mass. I personally do not think I would have enough patience to work with this tool.

            There are many ways in which this tool could be being used but is not. I think that this tool would really up the reality game. Imagine that you got assigned to a new job and had to move from New York to China. There is a very slim possibility that you would be able to or have the time to travel to China to actually look at apartments that would be suitable for your living. If realtors took advantage of this 3D modeling tool, they could create actual virtual tours of apartments and houses so that if the client was unable to physical come to the place that they need to move to they would still get the opportunity to tour the living space and make an informed decision on where exactly they would like to be moving. Even though this would be a very tedious and time consuming task, I feel that it would be very useful in places such as apartment complexes where a large majority of the apartments look nearly identical. If this was the case, only one 3D model of an apartment would need to be made with a caption on what would be slightly different in the apartment that is being discussed.

            Overall I feel that even though this is a very useful and inspiring tool, it is very difficult to actually execute the process correctly and takes a large amount of time. If I were to have to use this tool I feel that it would end up being my entire job description rather than just one part of a project that I am working on.

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