It’s one thing to take 3D models and make 2D drawings of them. Sure it’s a lot of work and has it’s place, but what if you could take a bunch of 2D photos and turn them into 3D representations. Several companies are doing just that.

Fotowhoosh constructs a 3D representation from a single photo.

Photosynth constructs a 3D environment of photos. The latest one is the Space Shuttle.

Everyscape constructs a virtual view of actual locations and allows you to interact with others.

There is also a company called VisualSize that is developing technology to measure photographs.

What are the possibilities?
None of these are really what you could imagine when you think of 2D being turned into 3D, but it’s a step in that direction. While this totally takes away from the warmth of a photo, the applications are tremendous. This is being used to deliver another way of looking at photos, but if you couple these with something like Microsoft’s Live Local, some facial recognition type of application and make it all a little smoother and more interactive, it could realistically be used to reconstruct crime scenes, do layouts for city planning or reconstruct some environments that have long since past.

From a SolidWorks perspective
Imagine if you could go down to the shop or into your garage, snap a few pictures of the product and import it into SolidWorks or get measurements from it. I personally can see this as a quicker, possibly more precise, method of getting my ideas into a production ready state. I can take pictures of ergonomic surfaces or the location that something will need to fit into, then model around it.

This could even allow you to attend more events, like User Groups or SolidWorks World, or some training. I dunno, I’m just throwing it out there.



Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.