Volume 10, Number 1

Human Photogrammetry: Foundational Techniques for Creative Practitioners


Trendt Boe and Chris Carter, Queensland University of Technology, Australia


Photogrammetry has emerged as a leading approach for photorealistic digital replication and 3D scanning of real-world objects, particularly in areas of cinematic visual effects and interactive entertainment. While the technique generally relies on simple photography methods, the foundational practices for the field of human photogrammetry remain relatively undocumented.Human subjects are significantly more complex than still life, both in terms of photogrammetric capture, and in digital reproduction. Without the documentation of foundational practices for human subjects, there is a significant knowledge barrier for new creative practitioners to operate in the field, stifling innovation and adoption of the technique.Researchers and commercial practitioners currently working in this field continually distribute learnings and research outcomes. These learnings tend to centralise more on advanced practices such as capturing micro-geometry (skin pores), reflectance and skin distortion. However, the standard principles for building capture systems, considerations for human subjects, processing considerations and technology requirements remain elusive. The purpose of this research is to establish foundational practices for human photogrammetry systems. These practices encapsulate the underlying architectures of capture systems, through to necessary data processing for the 3D reconstruction of human subjects.Design-led research was used to construct a scale 21-camera system, designed for high-quality data capture of the human head. Due to its incredible level of surface complexity, the face was used to experiment with a variety of capture techniques and system arrangements, using several human subjects. The methods used were a result of the analysis of existing practitioners and research, refined through numerous iterations of system design.A distinct set of findings were synthesised to form a foundational architecture and blueprint for a scale, human photogrammetry multi-camera system. It covers the necessary knowledge and principles required to construct a production-ready photogrammetry system capable of consistent, high-quality capture that meets the needs of visual effects and interactive entertainment production.


Photogrammetry, 3D scan, body scan, photoscan, digital double, digital actor, face scan, photorealistic human, photogrammetry pipeline, digital replication, multi-camera, foundations.