EDUCATION

Top 8 Best Photogrammetry Software (Free/Paid)

This is a list of the top 8 Best Photogrammetry Software (4 Free and 4 Paid)

Best Photogrammetry Software
Above: Redesigning of a studio with Reality Capture/Image Credit: Overhead & Deapex

Photogrammetry is a science and technology of obtaining reliable data of real world objects in the environment. It is also a technique used for 3D scanning of objects in case of really large objects or when there is absence of the scanning equipment. Photogrammetry has been around since long but the advent of the 3D printing technology has boosted its usage and demand.

The only equipment needed is a good camera for clicking pictures of the object in consideration and photogrammetry software that converts the photographs into a CAD file that can be 3D printed.

Now-a-days, it is easy to get your hands on a good quality camera (even smartphone camera is sufficient) and as far as the photogrammetry software is concerned, a lot of options are available in the market that cater to different types of needs.

We list down the top 8 best photogrammetry software, 4 Free and 4 Paid, to help readers get started with photogrammetry.

Free Photogrammetry Software

1. Meshroom

Above: Meshroom is a 3D Reconstruction Software based on the AliceVision framework/Video Source: AliceVision/YouTube

Meshroom is an open-source and free photogrammetry software offered by AliceVision, a photogrammetric computer vision framework. The software has an easy-to-use workflow that allows for automatic generation of 3D models and textures based on the uploaded images. It makes use of a node-based workflow so that each node can be individually tweaked to get the optimum result that the user wishes for.

Autodesk Maya users can install a plugin to directly use Meshroom inside the 3D modelling software.

Ideal user: Beginners

Good For: Learning and beginner projects

2. MicMac 

MicMac is another open-source and free photogrammetry software developed by ENSG (French national school for geographic sciences) and the IGN (French National Geographic Institute). Don’t get mislead by its ‘free tag’, MicMac is used by experienced and academic users.

This software is specifically used for projects involving environmental protection, cultural heritage imaging and preservation or forestry. From close-range to aerial footage, MicMac can process anything.

Ideal user: Experienced and academic users

Good For: Cultural heritage and preservation projects

3. Agisoft Metashape

Free Photogrammetry Software
Above: Agisoft Metashape software user interface/Image Source: Agisoft Metashape

Agisoft Metashape, previously called as Agisoft Photoscan, is a stand-alone and free photogrammetry software that offers many interesting features like photogrammetric triangulation, measurements for distances, point clouds to distinguish bet

ween different objects, panoramic stitching, volumes and areas to reconstruct the actual dimensions, and 3D model generation & textures.

Agisoft Metashape is available in two versions: Standard and professional for respective needs and requirements but even the standard version is laced with multiple tools to work with. The software is widely used as it delivers good quality captures at faster processing time. It has It can be easily called as a complete solution for capturing both close-range and aerial photogrammetry.

Ideal user: Beginners and professionals

Good For: Close-range and aerial photogrammetry

3DF Zephyr Free

Best Photogrammetry Software
Above: 3DF Zephyr user interface/Image Source: 3D Flow

3DF Zephyr Free is the free version of its photogrammetry software from 3DFlow. It is user-friendly, efficient, and delivers reliable results. The free version is released keeping in mind students, beginners and individuals for their personal use. For this target market, the software is a great start to learn photogrammetry and gets their hands on a good quality software.

Ideal user: Beginners and experienced individuals

Good For: Small student and beginner projects



Paid Photogrammetry Software

1. Autodesk ReCap Pro

Best Photogrammetry Software
Above: ATFF Point Cloud of external hospital structures with ReCap Pro/Image Source: Autodesk

ReCap Pro (previously a free software known as ReMake) is a paid photogrammetry software by Autodesk, the American multinational software corporation. This software allows to create accurate 3D models from photographs. It has two modes to work with for aerial photogrammetry and for close-range photogrammetry. Apart from using photographs, the software can also process laser scans and align them with photo-based projects to generate 3D models.

Autodesk ReCap boasts of features like advanced editing, Fly features for UAV/drone photos, high-quality analytical and collaborative tools.

Ideal user: Professionals

Good For: Close-range, large structure and aerial photogrammetry

2. ContextCapture

ContextCapture (previously known as Acute 3D) is a paid photogrammetry software developed by Acute3D, a Bentley Systems company. The aim of the software is to eliminate the human intervention in creating a 3D model from photographs. ContextCapture is so precise that it makes 3D model reconstruction easier than 3D scanning. In most cases the 3D models also don’t need any kind of post-processing. This software has the ContextCapture Editor, which enables users to edit 3D meshes, generate cross-sections, and extract ground and break-lines. 

This software can generate 3D models of entire cityscapes and hence it is suitable for large infrastructure projects.

Ideal user: Experienced and professionals

Good For: Cityscapes and large infrastructure projects

3. Pix4Dmapper

Best Photogrammetry Software
Above: Pix4Dmapper/Image Source: Pix4D

Pix4Dmapper is a niche paid software dedicated to drone-based mapping. This professional software solution efficiently converts photographs into 2D maps and 3D models due to its advanced digital reconstruction technology.

Pix4Dmapper boasts of comprehensive analytical tools that have vast applications in varying fields of use like agriculture, crop zoning, precise maps, surveying, etc. It offers a complete end-to-end solution package and works well for both close-range and aerial photogrammetry.

Ideal user: Professionals

Good For: Creating 3D Models from drone-based mapping, agriculture, surveying and real estate

4. Reality Capture

Best Photogrammetry Software
Above: Redesigning of a studio with Reality Capture/Image Credit: Overhead & Deapex

Developed by Capturing Reality, Reality Capture is a paid photogrammetry solution that is user friendly, easy to use and a multitude of useful features. As per the company, the software is 10 times faster than photogrammetry software in the market. It offers high-quality captures, ability to calculate mesh and textures, allows working with multiple file formats.

It can use photographs as well as laser scans to create the 3D model. This enables the software be used for a variety of close-range as well as aerial projects. It is safe to call it a complete software solution.

Ideal user: Experts and Professionals

Good For: 3D Visualisations, Close-range and aerial photogrammetry

CONCLUSION

3D models created through photogrammetry are not quite different from the models created from 3D Scanning. The difference is just in the input. Both technologies have their unique set of advantages and disadvantages. We hope that through this article, you know the top 8 photogrammetry software options available. This is a great place to start. There are still a lot many similar software out there and you can also check them out if you want to try out more options. 


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