Archive - February 2015

Generating 3D landscapes from Aerial Photos Part 2

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.

First part of the post can be found here.

Let me first talk about my setup more in detail.

About a 2 1/2 years ago I started playing around with drones from the small cheap $50 ones to eventually shelling out and buying a DJI Phantom 2 which then I added on various components.

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

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.

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Generating 3D landscapes from Aerial Photos

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.

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Will the Truckee River have enough water this summer?

Updated with new photo from April 11th – 2017

Updated with 3d landscape recreated April 14th.

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.

common-compair

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

Commons Beach March 28, 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.

2016 Updated photo

2016 Updated photo

April 11, 2017

Updated April 11, 2017

Eagle Lake Hike Aerial Video

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.

I hope you enjoy this video.