Like 3D animation, 3D photogrammetry is based on individual photographs. However, there is much more to 3D photogrammetry than simple animation. Photogrammetry software can be used to generate a CAD model from a series of individual photos.
The big advantage of this method is the fact the product visualisation is measurable and dynamically scalable and can be output as a true-to-scale 3D printout. This makes 3D photogrammetry of particular interest in the area of prototyping, for example for product development in industry. Photogrammetry makes it possible to present a precise image of the prototype in all phases of product development, thanks in particular to the flexible panoramic view with zoom function.
Here, 3D photogrammetry is much more detailed than laser scanners, for example. By way of comparison: Laser scanners scan the surface of the object to be represented. The result of this distance measurement is an image point cloud, which is in turn converted into a surface model (grid model). A mathematical structure, whose data was previously determined from the individual images, is then applied to the created 3D model. The result is a 3D representation of the scanned object that does not, however, correspond to a 1:1 representation of the detail. 3D photogrammetry is the preferred choice for the photo-realistic, true-colour visualisation of objects and their surface structure.
Another advantage of 3D photogrammetry is the fact that even immobile objects of any size can be represented. The procedure is therefore also suitable for the photographing of crime and accident scenes, as well as for the architecture and property sectors, where objects can be "transported" from one location to another by means of data transfer and 3D printouts produced if required (for example in urban planning).
However, the one limitation of 3D photogrammetry is the fact that it is not suitable for the representation of metallic and/or reflective surfaces. Its strength lies solely in the visualisation of organic materials, in which it is a leading technology.
It should also be noted that photogrammetry is a new technology that is still relatively time-consuming on account of the long processing times, and the hardware is quite expensive. It is therefore more suited to areas such as research and development, architecture and restoration, where project cycles tend to be longer. Here it offers significant savings potential, as it can replace the prototypes created manually in cast and mould making – you can create as many copies of the object as you want – and renders the costly transport of large models between different locations superfluous.