There are tons of photogrammetry software, each with its own unique set of features. Whether you're planning to create a map or a 3D model of some real-world object, there's a program out there that will fit your needs.
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best photogrammetry software available, both free and paid. We'll also highlight some of their benefits and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.
The Best Free Photogrammetry Software
In this section, we explore the best free photogrammetry software options currently available.
Meshroom is a free and open-source 3D software available for Linux and Windows. This easy-to-use software is based on the AliceVision framework and uses node-based workflow to generate 3D models.
To use Meshroom, simply drag and drop images into the software. It will scan your photos' metadata to ensure that they are in order and start processing the 3D image.
You can inspect what photos represent which part on the 3D scan. The analysis of individual pictures in a 3D scan provides you with more control and a better understanding of what looks great and what doesn't.
You can then import the results in Maya or Blender for retopology. Note that using smaller subjects or areas can make image processing times more quick and efficient. Always use high-quality images to ensure you get the best quality final product. Therefore, you should aim to shoot your photos in a well-lit area and when the weather is right.
COLMAP is a powerful Multi-View Stereo (MVS) and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) software with a command-line and graphical interface. The software is available under the open-source BSD license. Plus, it runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
The software provides all the basic tools you need to create a 3D model from one or several photographs. You can use it to align images and construct a 3D mesh. However, it would be best to consider using another tool to create textures.
By default, COLMAP attempts to automatically improve the intrinsic camera parameters (except principal point) throughout reconstruction. However, depending on the characteristics of your camera and image settings, COLMAP's self-calibration process might converge in degenerate parameters.
This situation is more common in sophisticated cameras with many distortion variables. The good thing is that you can always modify different parameter groups at various points during the reconstruction; provided you know the calibration parameters ahead of time.
While the program can handle a wide range of input images and environmental conditions, you’ll need to follow some guidelines for taking pictures to help get the most accurate 3D reconstruction. Some factors to consider include texture, illumination, and visual overlap. It’s also best if you consider the viewpoints when taking pictures.
MicMac is another open-source photogrammetric tool you can use on various 3D reconstruction setups. The software has a robust feature set and is mostly meant for professional or academic users, but it is also suitable for general use.
The software is touted for its reliability, accuracy, and features that are not typically available in other software options. These include access to intermediate results in open data formats, the ability to qualitatively evaluate results, and a large selection of camera calibration models.
In addition, the software can process both scanned analog and pushbroom sensor images and handle datasets of any size.
MicMac is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you can use it to create 3D models and orthoimages. You can also use it on any scale of objects, from close range to aerial objects, in fields such as archaeology, cartography, and forestry, to mention a few.
The Best Paid Photogrammetry Software
There are many paid photogrammetry software options available, each with its benefits and shortcomings. Here are three of the best.
PIX4Dmapper is a leading photogrammetry software for professional drone mapping. The software is designed to suit individual users and large enterprises. It supports the processing of projects on your desktop using photogrammetry algorithms. It can also bundle them with PIX4Dcloud for online processing.
PIX4Dmapper incorporates a workflow based on super-advanced image matching technology and ground control points (GCPs), making it a great tool for mapping. You can use it to process drone maps, generate 3D models, and control the quality of your projects.
PIX4DMapper works with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices and is suited for professionals in surveying, engineering, and architecture.
Agisoft Metashape is a 3D model and texture creating software compatible with panorama stitching and multispectral imagery processing. The program allows you to create 3D models and textures of people, archaeological sites, interiors, artifacts, and more.
It supports stereoscopic measurements and 4D modeling for dynamic scenes and lets you build orthomosaics. Its unique features include detecting powerlines in images and processing satellite imagery automatically.
Metashare works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The software supports many popular import and export textures including JPG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP. In addition, it allows you to upload your model directly to web-based platforms, like Sketchfab.
DroneDeploy is a cloud-based platform for enterprise drone operations. It provides a simple and secure system for companies to manage their data and drone fleets.
The software is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. With DroneDeploy, you can access features including automated georeferencing, automatic adjustment of the camera’s tilt, and add a timestamp to points collected while flying.
DroneDeploy is easy to use and can process hundreds of maps simultaneously. You can easily upload up to 10,000 images without specialized hardware or software.
The program can also provide insights into the ways drones are used in your firm. You can use it in construction, agriculture, and renewable energy industries.
It provides survey-grade accuracy and export map data to local projection systems. You can use it to create 2D maps, 3D models, and generate data-rich analytics from the aerial images it works on.
DroneDeploy can also be integrated with third-party apps and services, such as Autodesk and Pix4D. In addition, it’s compatible with many drones which are certified for commercial use with the FAA. Compatible models include Phantom 4 Pro V2, Mavic 2 Pro, and several Matrice drones.
Create Models From Photos With Ease
With photogrammetry software, you can create 3D models of objects just by taking photographs from different angles. But there are many photogrammetry software options on the market, and it can be hard to decide which ones to use.
This article highlights some of the best free and paid photogrammetry software currently available. We hope that our list has been helpful in your search for a program so that you can get started with capturing photos of objects or people and turning them into 3D digital models!
From object to 3D print in five simple steps.