I think I need to pop my head out of my gopher-hole more often and see what my company’s doing. It turns out Autodesk software – including Maya, 3DS Max, Mudbox, AutoCAD, and everything else – is now free to students and educators. Just register and you’re good to go. Wow, this is a big change from the old system, and is definitely great to see.
There are also a number of betas from Autodesk free to anyone: one is 123D, a modeler that is aimed to help out the Maker crowd and 3d printing. I’ve installed this but haven’t played with it yet.
Another project is Photofly 2.0, where you upload a number of images and it makes a 3D model from the data (i.e., photogrammetry). This is similar to My3dScanner. I tried these two out on a set of photos of a bunch of bananas, some taken with a flash and some without, a hard test case. I definitely didn’t follow the guidelines. My3dScanner threw up its hands, Photosynth’s point cloud was incomprehensible, Photofly gave it a sporting chance, getting a cloud and making a mesh – no magic bullet yet, but fun to try. I’m now even tempted to RTFM, as results were better than I thought.
Photosynth (examine set of photos here):
Photofly’s cubist rendering – it did output an interesting Wavefront OBJ model: