How Photogrammetry Is Used In The Gaming Industry

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How Photogrammetry Is Used In The Gaming Industry

Technology has touched just about every aspect of our daily lives, and video gaming is no different. If there’s one thing that’s more readily apparent than anything else when it comes to advancements in video games, it’s graphics. Graphics steadily keep improving with every year and every new iteration of video game consoles. We’re already at the point where environments and even some characters are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

How have such advancements come about?
What methods are used to create such realistic graphics? Well, one of the main tools used in generating those graphics is called photogrammetry. In short, photogrammetry can process large caches of images and identify the attributes of the objects they contain. Once it does this, it can define their dimensions, relative locations to one another, and other traits that allow it to create 3D models of each object.

Photogrammetry Explained
Photogrammetry has many applications, such as medical science, architecture, and geological surveys. However, one of its most visible uses is in the video game industry, in creating the people, things, and locations you see and interact with. In that regard, photogrammetry is a kind of virtual reality technology. Its 3D modeling capability allows it to provide accurate measurements needed to create these objects.

Photogrammetry Makes Your Imagination a Reality
It took many years for the system resources needed to process photogrammetry to catch up to the imaginations of video game developers. Once that happened, however, its image measurement algorithms made it very possible to create just about any environment the mind could conjure. In fact, it borrowed many of the techniques used for geographic and geological surveying.

It uses setups with multiple cameras to take pictures of the same locations or objects from various angles. Once this is done, it determines common points and pieces of data to indicate an object's size and position relative to other objects in the images. From there, accurate models can be generated for use in the game.

Advantages of Photogrammetry
One of the most well-known games to take advantage of photogrammetry technology is The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. The objects, locations, and even textures of everything in the game is extremely detailed and were actually modeled on corresponding objects that exist in the real world. Thanks to its remarkable attention to detail, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter drew almost universal praise from players and reviewers alike.

Such a masterpiece wouldn’t have been possible with the technology of even a few years ago. Those limitations no longer exist and breaking those chains allowed the transfer of real-world elements into a 3D graphical environment for the player to inhabit.

Consider also that this is just the beginning, and imagine the further advancements the technology might bring in the future. Could we be looking at photorealistic recreations of historical locations and characters? What about alien landscapes, or even fantasy locations that can be designed like a movie set, to be captured for use in a game? The possibilities are endless, and photogrammetry is the vehicle that’s going to get us there.

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