We had the opportunity to spend the day with Michal Grzesiczek and Michal Mierzejewski at Reality51.
We spent the day there to visit their labs and hear about what they are doing and it was simply beyond what we expected.
So who is Reality51?
Reality51 is a Virtual Reality 3D modelling company to put it simply. They provide services and technology to enable companies to develop VR technology and content. Now this might just sound like 360 videos, but its far greater than that. They have a team of people who are specialised in a variety of 3D techniques from immersive video to 360 drone experiences to complex photo stitching, called photogrammetry. They provide services both indoor using their labs and outdoors to build 360 models of real places. In essence they use advanced 3D scanning, spherical photos, and stereoscopic films to create incredible graphical quality and realism.
Their Photogrammetry Lab is amazing
So what is photogrammetry? In essence it is the process of taking thousands of photos of an area in multiple angles in order to capture the entire space in detail.These photos are then “stitched” together to create a complete 3D model which can either viewed with a phone or in a VR headset.
They described taking a photo of a small leather sofa would require at least 200 photos. If you move around the sofa in a 360 virtual environment, you would want to ensure that every possible angle is covered including looking under the armrests or getting up close to look at the details. Naturally it might just be easier to photograph a small object in a lab.
Speaking of which, I asked them if they ever take photographs of people to model clothes or to use in games. And they said, “of course, would you like to try?”
So to prove the concept, they took a photo of me in a full 360. And here is what I look like.
Within their lab, they have set up 120 cameras which are situated in a circle and all positioned at different angles to take a photo.
The team at Reality51 had to have special equipment designed in order to synchronise all of the photos and flashes to be taken with a maximum of 16ms.