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Title: 3DF Zephyr Lite Steam Edition
Genre: Animation & Modeling, Design & Illustration, Video Production
Release Date: 2 Feb, 2016
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Great value for money, and the limitations are fair enough condsidering the price. Very good quality meshes and camera solves. Settings and workflows are intuitive, and the online help files are clear and explanatory. Helpful support and good forum as well.
Would love to be able to export a camera or two, though.. Loving it - just what I was looking for and the mesh ports well into maya LT for retop, best part is that I can bake on my laptop so I don't have to stop playing games on my PC to render.. I cannot recommend this software. Superior alternatives are available. I wanted this software to be good (not least because I spent money on it) but after comparing its processing times and the quality of output with other available softwares (namely, Reality Capture) it falls far short.
Example. Yesterday I visited a ruined castle, stood in one area and captured 700 photographs. I return home and plug 500 of those photographs into 3DF Zephyr Lite (I cannot import all 700 photos because of the 500 limit in Lite). I run the software through all the stages (reconstruction, point cloud, tri mesh, textured mesh) on the 'fast' setting, it takes a few hours to process and returns a model that is warped, wrong, and generally rubbish.
So I run the process again but for each of the stages change the setting to 'high detail'. I have to leave this running overnight (because it takes blooming ages) and during these many hours 3DF Zephyr Lite is using 90% of my CPU. This morning I checked the final product - after setting everything to high and the whole process taking up my computer for 8+ hours - and while the final mesh looks more like reality than the initial attempt, the mesh is still warped, bumpy, and in general a bit naff. No where near the quality of mesh that e.g. could be used in a VR experience.
Out of interest I download the demo of Reality Capture (from the website; haven't tried the Steam version). Into the demo I plug in the 700 photos (no 500 limit). I follow the tutorial instructions that are integrated into the user interface, and IN LESS THAN 20 blooming MINUTES the software has returned an untextured point cloud\/mesh with geometry that looks VERY MUCH like its real world counterpart (no warped, bumpy, naff bits).
At that point I closed down the RC demo, came here to write this review, and am about to uninstall (and never come back to) 3DF Zephyr Lite. Reality Capture achieved in less than 30 minutes what 3DF Zephyr Lite failed to come close to in 12 hours.
As I said, I wanted 3DF Zephyr to be good, I want to be able to recommend this software, but I cannot do so in good conscience.. Very cool software program...my only concern is that the practice tutorial they give you to do with the little angel statue comes out amazing....but nothing I render of my own photos and objects come out nearly as good.. fun photo software!
i like this!. I've been using this to convert my photos to 3D objects to share on facebook. So far it works, the only downside is that each object takes a really long time to process. Hopefully one day the dev team will find a way to optimize the algorithms to process the images faster. Overall I am satisfied with the product and recommend anyone who has an interest in transforming real life images to 3D to give the demo a try.. Good, probably great, software, great developer support. Software you "own" and don't rent.
I tried the Reality Capture demo. The default settings for that software produce results quickly, but I'm not convinced that it does a better job than, or even as good of a job as, Zephyr. Zephyr can probably run as fast if you chose the right settings and get similar results to Reality Capture.
Reality Capture might be better for casual users as it will probably be more obvious who to get initial results for a new user. Zephyr's user interface is good, although it could use a bit of refinement. Both user interfaces are much better than the open source applications I've been using in the past.
The nail in the coffin for me with Reality Capture is the rental licensing model. I'll never warm up to that, nearly $500\/year to keep the license active on a monthly basis. Zerphyr has a good old school licensing model, you own a license to the software with one payment that is either %50 more than RC's 3 month rent or 1\/3rd of RC's annual monthly cost. The price is even better if you find Zephyr on sale.
My initial attempts at using this software were to through some noisy and a bit blurry video footage at it. The first results were very noisy, as expected as Garbage In\/Garbage Out (GIGO). However, overtime, while learning to use the features of the software better, I was able to improve the results considerably.
I then grabbed my DSLR and took a handfull of pictures, 31, of the back of my house. I planned on taking more, but my card filled up. The results were pretty amazing, even though the coverage I had with the photographs was less than optimal. I didn't really have to do any tweaking of the settings, just ran the various stages using Urban\/Default presets.
With more images and more experience on my part, I know that I will easily get outstanding results with this software. I can't wait to get some good weather again for exterior shooting and\/or getting a turntable setup for smaller objects.
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