Pierre Bourjo, had recently accepted a new project for to create an interactive 3D model. The idea for Ford’s new engine prototype seemed simple enough – tap and zoom in with your fingers to see details from all angles of an object suspended in space. And then you find out there are no blueprints, no references, but the only physical prototype in North America was somewhere in Dallas for show. To somehow bring back all the details, Pierre figured photogrammetry was the solution. Simply put photogrammetry is a process of creating a digital model from hundreds of photographs.
When Arash arrived, the engine was under a tent on grass. He had a couple of hours to shoot before the fair began, keeping in mind all the supporting plates Pierre will require to build the animation. Arash said, “The engine was on a podium that didn’t spin. So this meant that we had to mark our distances and shoot around it in 360….It was a challenging shoot as technically I had to do my best to be perfect, but the engine was crooked (as it was sitting on grass), the wind was crazy high and kept ripping up the background paper and knocking it down. It was so hot and humid even this Middle Eastern boy had to take a water break between each set of images. [Finally] Got all the images in the bag, just in time for the fair to open.”
The solution of photogrammetry was a little risky – would any parts be missing or incomplete? There was no opportunity to reshoot. Armed with tons of visual references, Pierre started to build. To produce a fully controllable model with fleshed out details, he created some sculpts but also entirely recreated all details, so it was clear and precise when viewed at various angles, or zoomed in.
He says, “In the span of a few weeks, I processed the base shape of the 3D engine from the photographs, modelled additional parts by hand and fine tuned the textures to ensure everything was optimized for real time interaction. The client was able to carefully inspect the 3D model onscreen throughout the process and I made the necessary changes to reflect the product accurately.
Over 1 million polygons later and after perfecting the high resolution texture maps, the result is one of the most detailed interactive model we have seen of its kind. Just a perfect engine in space. It’s always rewarding to push new technology to its limits with a successful outcome!”