Mar 20, 2016 | By Benedict

Photographer Jeff Cremer has used a DJI Phantom 3 Pro camera drone to take around 110 photos of a giant statue of Jesus near his home in Lima, Peru. These images were used to create a 3D image of the statue, which was in turn made into a small 3D printed model.

Heavens above! This 3D scan of a giant Jesus statue must surely rank as one of the most ambitious photogrammetry projects we’ve come across in recent times. After seeing the mammoth icon every day when leaving his house, Jeff Cremer decided that 2D photographs could not do it justice. Thus, as though commanding an angel to do his holy bidding, Cremer sent his DJI Phantom 3 Pro drone to take around 110 photos of the statue across three altitudes, before stitching those images together into an accurate 3D model.

To get the photogrammetry process started, Cremer first flew his drone directly above the head of the statue using GPS flight mode. The statue lies 550m from Cremer’s house, but the photographer could not get any closer on foot. When in position, the pilot switched to intelligent flight mode with the “Point of Interest” setting triggered in order to lock focus the camera onto the statue. The drone could then orbit the stone idol at a 25 meter radius whilst continuously taking pictures. Once a complete circle of photos had been taken, Cremer dropped the drone to a lower altitude and began the process again. The complete photo capturing process took just 10 minutes.

Once Cremer had recalled his drone and collected all of the 2D images, he made a 3D rendering of the statue using the Altizure software suite. This rendering could not be exported to a 3D printable file, but the photographer then used Autodesk Memento to generate a point cloud from the photos, which he then converted into a detailed 3D mesh. With Memento stitching everything together overnight, Cremer then sliced away all the surrounding scenery, leaving only the 3D Jesus and a small plinth created by expanding and filling the perimeter.

Not content to let the 3D scanned Jesus statue remain on his computer screen, Cremer then uploaded his 3D model to Sculpteo, a bespoke 3D printing service provider, which delivered a desktop-size 3D printed Jesus statue to the photographer one week later. Although the hands came out less than perfect, Cremer was, overall, very satisfied with the Sculpteo 3D print.

We think the 3D model and the 3D printed Jesus look pretty great, and Cremer’s idea to deploy his drone to capture the images was nothing short of miraculous. The photogrammetry project could even inspire parishes around the world to start producing 3D printed religious merchandise—If all the requisite photos for this giant Jesus statue can be collected in just 10 minutes, what’s stopping clergy from getting their hands on drones, 3D scanners, and 3D printers, and bringing religious iconography into a new, technologically innovative era?

 

 

Posted in 3D Scanning

 

 

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