Journey into Photogrammetry: 123D Catch

For a few years now, I have been using a program called 123D Catch, formerly known as Autodesk Photofly. Photogrammetry is a process of using photos and complex algorithms to mathematically determine where objects are in 3D space and what their shape is. I have had mixed success in using this software, but overall I have achieved some good results and gained a good understanding of which kinds of objects reconstruct well and which do not.

Some of my efforts have involved creating 3D versions of hand-sculpted objects and using retopology to create animatable 3D characters. Another use that I have experimented with is creating set data for use in matchmoving.  This technique would hopefully allow for creating accurate survey points to improve camera solves and ensure the correct placement of points in 3D space.

One of the best features of Catch is the ability to manually stitch photos by selecting matching points between images. This is majorly useful for most scenes. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to using the software. It is unable to handle reflective surfaces or thin objects, such as tubes and pipes. Autodesk also released an update sometime last year that limits photo uploads to 200MB.

3d angel scan

This is a statue of an angel that I did when I was still learning Catch. It’s a good example of a failed attempt.



Figurine on a bench







High resolution version of the rock mesh


Low resolution rock retopologized in Blender.






loew-brenn entrance

Another scene from Broken Reality


This is one of my scenes from “Broken Reality.” There is a lot of cleanup required, but it should still yield usable data for set reconstruction and survey data.










Download 123D Catch.


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