So here are some of the of the new 3d landscapes I have generated recently with my drone. I’m still working out a few bugs and how to better capture data and am in contact with the companies that make the software. One issue is water because its moving or has a nice reflections built in. So you can see with my tests of a secret beach here in Tahoe some of the water is gone or the 3d model is deformed.
Secret Beach generated with Pix4D from about 300 images.
Secret Beach generated with Photoscan with the same image set.
You can notice between the 2 software packages that in this case with the water that Pix4D did a better job and some parts are missing in the Photoscan version. I will try to do a recalculation of this data set again to make sure im getting the same results.
You can defiantly see the potential complexity of having the software try to build a 3d mesh with this type of data.
Here is another aerial shot right above the boat house that I posted on Facebook that got quite a few likes!
Anyhow check out all the models I have processed so far here and feel free to provide comments below.
Here is a 3d fly through I did with the Pix4d software
After spending a bit more time testing various software to generate 3d landscapes I wanted to write up a second post with more detail and showing off another data set I collected the other day while hiking around Donner Lake area near Lake Tahoe.
Here is a shot of both of my birds before doing a shoot at Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe.
Setting up the Phantoms for flight
So as mentioned in my first post I had been trying out Pix4D application which has some nice features but its quite expensive. I also recently ran across recently Agisoft Photoscan which has some similar features to Pix4D and is a little less expensive if you buy the standard edition. I guess it would depend on what you want to do with each software and Ill mention the pro’s and cons later in this article but both give you a trial version which you can test out for yourself.
I love playing around with new technology and my I have a strong background in 3D modeling since I was a young kid and got a job in the video game industry. I’m also always looking for new ways to use my skills test out new ideas.
I have been playing around with the idea of using my drones to build 3d landscapes and over the time tested various software to help convert 3d aerial photos into 3d objects. Granted some of my first tests didn’t turn out as well as I thought so I kept playing around to see what I could come up with.
I’m using Pix4d to convert the Nadar type of photos (basically the camera on the drone looks directly down at the ground). I use my iPad Ground Station from DJI to fly a grid style pattern making sure I have enough overlap of images taking fro the GoPro.
I have been watching and taking photos of the part of Lake Tahoe that mostly feeds the Truckee River. I took a photo back in Jan and it went a bit viral on Facebook with over 250k views and tons of comments.
Here is a before and after photo of about 2 weeks since we had a few inches of rain and not how much snow fall last weekend.
You can clearly see on the left that its starting to fill in a bit, I tried my best to take the photo at the exact location but this still gives you an idea.
I will try to do a pic once a week or every other week to keep this updated, the interesting time will be when the snow is really starting to melt off, granted today as I write this in Tahoe City its almost 60F so I’m imagining we are getting a bit of snow melt off now as well.
March 28th, 2015
Feel free to share this photo and if you want to use these in your posts I have the originals that can be used just hit me up via the contact page.
April 14th Update.
Here is a 3d landscape recreated by taking over 300 photos of the area and processing it with various tools to generate a 3d landscape.
2016 Photo Update, Lake Tahoe is now at its natural rim (article).
Here is an updated photo, note while its at the natural rim there isnt a lot of water to push into the Tahoe Dam thus not feeing the Truckee River, and unfortunately it looks like yet another year without the lazy river rafting companies.
So, I finally had a chance to edit my hike up to Eagle Lake in Tahoe. Granted It wasn’t a planed shoot for me, I usually have one of my drones in my car and have a backpack with my equipment in it. If I find a good location I try to get a few shots done before other people are coming by, and some times its just a random shot. I cut this video down from 2 minutes and added one of my buddies music track Bring it on Back from Momu . This was edited in final cut pro with some color correction and trimmed down shots since my camera gimbal was a bit shaky at times due to the wind and just various issues.
If you live in the Lake Tahoe area you know that something is changing and thats out water levels.
USA Today wrote an article last year already stating the obvious to some of us who live here and said.
“We haven’t seen this for 20 years. We’re extremely dry,” said Chad Blanchard, federal water master. “The river will basically dry up below Lake Tahoe about the end of this month.” – USA Today
I thought I would share some aerial photos I took the other day of what is happening on the Lake Tahoe side and show just how bad it is right now. Granted we haven’t received much snow and anyone living here is hoping we see a lot of it in February but will the next few months help out? What will the rafting companies that supply summer jobs do if we don’t get a great melt off of snow?
Today I wanted to do some aerial photos and videos of this great little hike at Eagle Lake.
Eagle Lake Trail is a moderate 2 mile out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California offering forest, lake and High Sierra views. – All Trails
During the winter this is also a great hike provided lots of snow hasn’t fallen yet. I do recommend if you go during the winter to bundle up and wear some good hiking shoes because at various places on the way up their are lots of places to slip and break something. Don’t let that stop you just be safe and slow, the end result is amazing. First you get to see a great view towards Emerald Bay, then cross a small bridge. This time the bridge had a great frozen water fall. At the top Eagle Lake is a great small Lake at was frozen when I went.
Below are some still taking from my Phantom 2 and GoPro 4. Over the next few days Ill work on the video and post that as well. Cheers and I hope you enjoy these photos!
I recently moved to Tahoe City from the SF Bay area and have been making my way around the lake doing various aerial videos and photos. Here is a small combination of stills taken from my Phantoms recently. I hope you like them and I will continue to post them here and at a new site dedicated to this type of content. So after you view these please head on over to SkyPixel and view my videos and images.
Commons Beach Frozen
Single still from flight
I hope to go though the next few days of all the recent footage, its one thing to fly these things its another to take the time to look though all your photos, videos and edit them!
This is a great little easy hike that gives you great views of Lake Tahoe once at the top. If your ever in near Tahoe City, CA make sure to take out about an hour to check out this little hike a couple miles down on Hwy 89.
I took up one of my DJI Phantom 2’s with a buddy and we did some aerial video and photos. Here are some of the snots snapped from the Phantom 2. It was from a GoPro 4 and it was set on 5 second timelapse for photos. I’m working on putting together a video as well but takes more time than photos! 🙂
Since living in Tahoe for the last month or so, its good to see that the craft beer scene is alive and well. I have been visiting Tahoe for almost 14 Years before deciding to finally move up here. I thought I would share this photo from my instagram account to prove we can get more than Bud or Coors crap.