Sunday, July 2, 2017

3DF Zephyr, Free 3D Modeling Software

Screenshot of 3D headstone captured as part of workshop at Huguenot Cemetery during CRPTIII. Link HERE.

Did you miss the recent Cemetery Resource Protection Training Conference III? If so, you missed a lot. I mean, everyone just blew it out of the water this time around, organizers and attendees. If you missed it, catch a quick peek below.

One of the things that I spoke about at the conference was the practical use of 3D imaging for documenting historic headstones. I'm a huge fan of the technology and see 3D visualization as a future standard component of archaeological research. In the meantime, it's still fairly new to most people. Like many new technologies there is a belief that it's too expensive, too new, or too hard to learn. During the conference I introduced new 3D photogrammetry software that released a basic version for free just days before conference, 3DF Zephyr. The free version will process up to 50 images and there are a ton of great tutorials out there. There is now no excuse for incorporating 3D data into your documentation practices! For most headstones, 50 images is a fairly good number to use for processing. It won't work for everything, of course, but it's a great way to learn this powerful program at no real cost to you. Below are links to practice pic sets that I have used in teaching photogrammetry processing as well as a few choice tutorials. Take a look and make it a weekend project to learn the basics-that's about all it will take. As you get better at 3D processing you will outgrow the free version of the software and it may be time to upgrade. If you are affiliated with a non-profit or educational institution there are almost always great discounts to take advantage of, however, so think about this as a long term investment in a fantastic documentation technique.

Use these two practice sets as a starting point
Practice set 2: Easy with problem

The 3DF Zephyr team has a great set of tutorials to go through HERE.
Here is a great basic tutorial (embeded above) for 3DF Zephyr HERE.
Using coded targets can increase accuracy, learn more HERE.
Check out the 3Dflow YouTube channel for much more HERE.

This is just a start, there's so much more out there and just around the corner. Best of luck to you as you begin to learn this exciting new technology.

Be sure to share your future 3D projects with us! Use the hashtag #3DFPAN so we can keep track of all the great documentation happening out there.

Text: Kevin Gidusko
Videos: FPAN staff, or noted via links

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