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Messages - driftertravel

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General / [For Sale] Dual Xeon Workstation
« on: June 18, 2015, 04:45:30 PM »
Howdy, since no one responded to my last post that I shouldn't post a for sale up here I thought I'd go ahead. Mod, take it down if you deem it necessary. This workstation was built primarily  for photoscan, and does better on the anandtech benchmark than anything I've seen them review. It works quite well for video editing and rendering as well. PM or email for more info. Shortlist specs are,

Dual E5-2687W v2
4x Nvidia GTX 780Ti
16GB Storage in RAID (2GB SSD, 7200RPM HDDs)
2x 4K Asus Monitors
1600Watt PSU

Located near Denver, CO USA

jason.shafer AT


Hey all, earlier this year I built a behemoth rig calibrated to run photoscan. It just crushes large projects. The long-term project I had lined up that required all that processing power turned out to not be as long-term as I thought, so I'm thinking I may want to sell the computer, even though I put a lot of time/research/money into the build. Just wondering if people thought it would be appropriate to put up a 'for sale' post here, as I think, since it's really geared towards working with photoscan and people are always asking about builds, there may be some interest. It'll also be a pretty good deal.


General / Re: PBR textures
« on: May 06, 2015, 08:54:57 PM »
Epic's specular maps must be generated based on diffuse / depth data, there is no way to extract specular data without using very controlled lighting conditions (ie. a light dome, totally different technique).

According to Epic, they make specular maps with a cavity bake. Has worked pretty well for me in the past:

"Commonly, if we modify Specular, we do so to add micro occlusion or small scale shadowing, say from cracks represented in the normal map. These are sometimes referred to as cavities. Small scale geometry, especially details only present in the high poly and baked into the normal map, will not be picked up by the renderer's real-time shadows. To capture this shadowing, we generate a cavity map, which is typically an AO map with very short trace distance. This is multiplied by the final BaseColor before output and multiplied with 0.5 (Specular default) as the Specular output. To be clear this is BaseColor = Cavity*OldBaseColor, Specular = Cavity*0.5."

Basically I multiply a cavity bake over the base specular for the material in question, then screen an edge highlight map over that. Since specular doesn't do a helluva lot in UE4's renderer it works just fine.

General / Re: PBR textures
« on: May 06, 2015, 05:46:28 AM »
Lightbrush works much better than camera raw when you learn how to use it. The downside is that it works much better on raw images, so to get the most out of it you have to batch each of the photos that you use in photoscan before you project the texture, which takes almost as long as processing with photoscan. You can use it on the tiff texture that photoscan produces, provided it's 16bit, but it doesn't work quite as well. That, and it's expensive ($800, down from $2500) and mac only.

edit: oh, and it doesn't work well on HDR images at all. You would need to run it on each of the images before combining and hdr tonemapping them.

Interesting... I use a stereo camera setup with ~50% overlap, so there would always be pairs to choose from... I guess I'll just have to run some A/B tests :)

Cool, that's what I needed to know!

Hi, I'm curious about pair pre-selection. I'm under the impression, and let me know if I'm wrong here, that pair preselection is really only helpful when one has 'a lot' of photos. My question is: "how many is 'a lot'?" At what point does it become beneficial to processing time to use this function? Thanks!

General / Re: Tips for making masking easier?
« on: May 01, 2015, 07:27:46 PM »
A: If you're "out in the world" you shouldn't have to mask most of the time, you can use the background to help in the alignment, then use the selection tools in the dense cloud step to delete the points representing what you don't want in the final model. You would want to mask only when you have to rotate the item physically to see the back side or something.
B. Green sucks as a backdrop for most things, as it casts a green hue on your object which is difficult to impossible to remove. Yes it's easy to remove with masking software, but I'd take one thick white and one thick black sheet to use as a backdrop if/when you need it. Choose the one that has the most contrast vs. the object that you're photographing and lay it down on the ground or something if you're taking pictures of something you need to flip over to see the back of.
C. Use the masking tools in after effects or use a plugin like primatte in photoshop to automate the masking process. They both work pretty well.

I'd love to be able to set different regions (via a 'new region' tool or similar) that I could then set to batch dense cloud and mesh creation with export. The function would need to select the appropriate cameras for that region and not process the other cameras in the scene. Would make a lot of things much easier and pretty much eliminate memory problems for those steps. There may already be a way to do this with chunks, so let me know if that's true.

General / Re: Vertices inside edges on mesh generation
« on: April 28, 2015, 03:06:12 AM »
One thing I've found is (sometimes) helpful is to use something like maya 2014 modeling toolkit or topogun (I assume 3dcoat can do it too, never tried) or something similar and 'relax' the low poly mesh over the high poly, or, if you want to keep your edges essentially where they are simply 'conform' the low poly to the high poly. Especially in topogun the polygons are forced to snap to a surface vert of the high poly, more often than not leaving you with a non-weirded-out mesh...

General / Re: How do i increase texture quality
« on: April 27, 2015, 04:33:58 PM »
Also, take more than 15 pix. You're probably getting some stretching and junk from photoscan having to project the photos at weird angles. I usually take 30-36 images for a turnaround (12-15 degrees), may be overkill but still...

General / Re: Is my .psz salvable after a blue screen of death?
« on: April 27, 2015, 04:30:07 PM »
You must be running out of ram or your ram is shaky, 4gb is really low for photoscan, I'm using Win10 and not having any problems... Try running memtest (free download at and see if your ram is causing the problem.

General / Re: multispectral and exchanging texture
« on: April 27, 2015, 04:23:34 PM »
If I'm reading this right, you can just choose "change path" when you right click on your images and select the new files. They have to have the same naming as the originals and be the same size. Sorry if that's not what you're looking for, good luck.

edit: looks like Alexey beat me to the punch...

General / Re: Dense Point Cloud Upper Limit?
« on: April 27, 2015, 04:17:31 PM »
If do you find a program that can mesh such very dense point clouds then please let us know.  8)

I was going to give geomagic wrap a go, as it's designed to handle a butt-ton of laser scanning data at once. I think a lot of these programs that deal with large dense point clouds do a number of things that photoscan, for all it's greatness, just can't do: 1st, they can mesh pretty large models, 2nd They have some more advanced tools for cleaning up point clouds and 3rd a few of them seem to switch between dense cloud when you are looking at things from a single vantage point and a sparse cloud when you're moving around, so things don't get so bogged down... If anyone has any experience with any of these tools I'd be excited to hear about it. On the other hand, I think 2 billion points will probably do the trick, thanks! :)

General / Dense Point Cloud Upper Limit?
« on: April 27, 2015, 05:10:53 AM »
Hello all, I'm currently working on a project that will involve 3-4 thousand photos, preferably processed at high quality, I can process in chunks, but I'm curious about when I go to merge the dense point clouds... I've got 128gb ram, but I'm wondering if anyone has an idea of where the upper limit of the size of the point cloud lies... I'm thinking I can generate a mesh in another program so I don't have to worry about running out of ram there, but I'm hoping I can get a quality point cloud of the whole thing to export... Any thoughts?

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