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Question about outdoor scan - Experimental

I have called Matterport support twice now but can't seem to get a returned call. I thought it would be neat and possibly a good selling point with some of the local Chambers to scan some of the local canyons under proper lighting conditions (dusk with cloud cover). The scanning seemed to work just fine in the narrow canyon. The issue I have is that the waterfall at the end of the canyon is not vertical in the model. I've read all support docs and can't find a single thing on how this can be corrected. Yes, I know outdoor scans are not supported but I feel this could be a large market for Matterport to support. Any ideas on how the waterfall can be made vertical in the final model?

Here it is so you can see: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=JwWjPVpuw67

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22 comments
  • What a great looking space! KUDOS!

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  • Hi there @naturesfinestimages! I agree with Lisa, beautiful!

    I can lend some insight into what's happening. The Matterport system attempts to auto-level all photos, provided they are within 15 degrees of flat. To do this, among other things, it looks at the shape of the area around it. As a very basic example, except for stairs and ramps, we can generally assume the floor to be flat. We also can look at walls and other surfaces to help figure out which way is straight down, and which way is straight up, using both the photographic and depth data.

    ...Which brings us to outside. Not only do we usually have less depth data (due to open spaces and/or sunlight), but we also would need to change our assumptions about the shape of the space (no walls, very bumpy floors, etc). So in this case, the camera is using a set of assumptions built for around inside spaces, which is giving funny results for outdoors.

    BUT, if you're feeling extra experimental, you might try using only 360 Views and see how it turns out. (Again, this isn't something we're supporting right now, but you seem like you're curious enough to give it a shot!)

    Does that make sense?

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  • Scott, yes it makes total sense. BUT, is there no way that Matterport support can "tilt" the model so that the waterfall is vertical? I would think this should be a very easy correction (I could be wrong though). Also, it would be a great benefit to simply add a tool in Workshop to allow the editor/owner to do this.

    I thought about the 360 views but that would take away from the "user experience" of being able to travel through the canyon and not be nearly as effective.

    As mentioned prior, I strongly feel this could be a large market for Matterport. Yes, Google is doing something similar at the moment with trails but the typical user can't afford (or buy) a Google camera. Matterport, IMO, could fill the void with smaller outdoor scenic areas as I've proven it can work but we just need to be able to adjust the tilt.

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  • Scott, yes it makes total sense. BUT, is there no way that Matterport support can "tilt" the model so that the waterfall is vertical? I would think this should be a very easy correction (I could be wrong though). Also, it would be a great benefit to simply add a tool in Workshop to allow the editor/owner to do this.

    I thought about the 360 views but that would take away from the "user experience" of being able to travel through the canyon and not be nearly as effective.

    As mentioned prior, I strongly feel this could be a large market for Matterport. Yes, Google is doing something similar at the moment with trails but the typical user can't afford (or buy) a Google camera. Matterport, IMO, could fill the void with smaller outdoor scenic areas as I've proven it can work but we just need to be able to adjust the tilt.

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  • naturesfinestimages Great shoot!!!

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  • Firstly what a fantastic model, very impressive.

    I agree with Lisa that it should reasonably straightforward to add a levelling tool into Workshop. I would suggest that it allows you to draw a line across your model that represents the 'horizon' and then the model could be rotated by the software to match that level.

    You could achieve that same effect manually by exporting the OBJ into something like Meshlab and doing the levelling there so it certainly isn't impossible but obviously the model cannot be reloaded.

    To be honest this is another reason to let owners have control over their own models rather than the walled garden you currently have. I suspect that as the 360 tour/photosphere world matures giving greater control to owners will become essential for the long term future of Matterport or it will quickly become an interesting bit of kit that fell by the wayside as it is overtaken by new tech.

    As Lisa has proved the camera isn't 'just' for Real Estate photography and as we're already seeing the market for services in this area will be quickly driven down as the RE market is, for the most part, notoriously cheapskate (with a minority of exceptions) in their approach to the value photography.

    With that in mind I could suggest several pieces of equipment that will perform the same function as the Matterport camera already but the route to display and sharing is somewhat more tortuous at this moment in time but the alternatives will get there.

    I bought the camera as I believes the speed of the technology and its delivery is unparalleled at the current time and as such I was willing to accept its limitations but with the hope that the 'walled garden' will be dismantled quickly, I think Matterport need to look seriously at this to remain relevant in the long-term.

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  • The best thing that we can do regarding this kind of issues, is to vote up this Product Suggestion:

    Replaceability of OBJ file with a better one

    That would allow freedom for fixing things when possible. Don't think it's a complicated process to achieve, or that you'll have to study something hard or buy expensive softwares: if the replaceability of the OBJ was made possible on Matterport's side, then user-friendly tools to make simple fixes specifically focused to Matterport models would likely emerge, without waiting for Matterport to build them in Workshop. Or even without that, a few well done video tutorials would make the process achievable by (almost) anyone without spending anything (e.g. with existing free software). Otherwise, if lazy, 3rd party services would come to help - e.g. for something simple it would have a very small cost.

    But if the OBJ is not allowed to be replaced, nothing like this is possible because no matter how good you can make an OBJ, there's no way to use it in a space in place of the original one.

    So if you're interested in this possibilities, please make sure to push up that Product Suggestion: Matterport team needs to hear from the userbase in order to understand how much something is wanted, and allocate time to work on those things, so the best thing to do is always to vote up what you like.

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  • Great idea and the application I mentioned above (Meshlab) is actually free.

    I suspect the issue with the OBJ is actually the quality of what is captured in the first instance and is more of a hardware issue than a software one, however I agree that being able to export and replace the OBJ to perform the manual levelling I suggested would be pretty straightforward.

    That said I think, as with many devices, users often push the hardware/software further and into different areas than the original creators were originally targeting. I can see that Matterport wanted to make this as simple as possible and that has been achieved, however, it's clear a new type of owner who is more tech savvy is emerging who wants more than the basic functionality and is capable of thinking outside of the box and is willing to take the camera further and delve into slightly more complex areas.

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  • Scott, I would greatly appreciate a response to my question about whether or not Matterport Support can manually tilt the model for the waterfall or if it's something that can be added to Workshop for the user to do. As you can see from the other responses, Matterport needs to stay ahead of the competition and this is one functionality that would help in that area.

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  • Hi there @naturesfinestimages! Unfortunately, no, this isn't something we can either do manually, or with Workshop tools currently. That said, I'd encourage you to ask for this in Product Suggestions -- that way, we can gauge desire from the community, and prioritize it. Apologies that we don't have a current solution!

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  • Good notes, @David Hothersall! This is definitely work posting to the "Product Suggestions" area, to get a feel for the level of need/interest in this feature. Cheers!

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  • You may try scanning a portion of the canyon that is fairly level all the way across then proceed to the waterfall in a T configuration. The start point and the end point of the small top portion of your T would need to be level. I would take a string level with me and make sure the outer scans are of equal ground height. You may have to take a friend to help. Then you start the long part of the T toward the waterfall. Or you just create multiple cross members across the canyon that are equal on either side. It would be a larger model but may fix this issue. You should be able to build on the original scan. Just make a copy and add more scan points. I'm not sure but the model looks awesome but generally it is fairly one sided as far as the canyon is concerned.

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  • Thanks for suggestion but it definitely would not work in this canyon (there are no fairly level spots and it would be very hard to get to the other side of the canyon. The water is deeper and faster than it looks). It would be SO much easier for Matterport to simply build in this functionality in Workshop.

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  • UPDATE: @naturesfinestimages has kindly posted a feature to address this to Product Suggestions at https://community.matterport.com/content/idea/1766/allow-user-to-tilt-model-if-necessary-experimental.html -- make sure to go vote on it! Thanks!

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  • I can see where it would be a challenge. Agreed the workshop would be a great place to implement this feature. For now not sure how you can correct the aspect of the scan. Great scan though.

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  • @naturesfinestimages That is a great scan even with the waterfall being off a little.

    One thing you can do that might help the scan is to try and keep the camera at same height throughout. One way would be to do a quick survey of the area and figure out the height difference (hopefully it is not super large difference) and use the tripod to adjust the height to get it closer. The tilting may well be caused by only doing scans on one side of the water. I understand it is imposibble to get on other side but that may help.

    One other note is I know outside you have to do scans close togethter but you could make navigation of the scan a little easier fi you would hide some points. I really do like the scan tho.

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  • Another good suggestion but again, it won't work as it's probably a 20 to 30 foot difference in elevation between the first and last scans. I've heard through their support that their engineers are working on this for the future so the camera/software will automatically adjust for elevation differences between the first and last scans which hopefully will correct the problem. No idea when this will happen though.

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  • Following your reflexion on the outdoor scans, I have received an offer to scan a big industrial plant outside.The plant is mainly full of pipes and quite narrow and it will require +50scans outside "only". Do you think this job is feasible regarding the fact the the camera is not made for exterior conditions?

    Thanks for your feedback.

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  • From my understanding, it may just work. As long as you have a fairly flat ground surface with very little elevation change, it should work. The least you can do is give it a try. The problem I had with my outdoor experiment is that there was no flat surface on the ground for the model to reference/orient which is why it ended up tilted. Let us know how it goes!

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  • I would say it is possible, but you should keep two things in mind. You mentioned it's narrow. I'm not sure if you're referring to the corridor between all the pipes, but if distance between the pipes and the camera is limited, you may have to reduce the distance between scan positions. Also, outdoor scanning is only recommended during civil twilight time. This is when the sun is just below the horizon, but when there's still a decent amount of ambient light. The biggest problem with outdoor scanning is the amount of ambient IR light interfering with cameras IR sensors. To get all the outdoor scans may require more than one day since the sun sets fast.

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  • @Matth

    You never know until you try. I actually enjoy scanning outdoors. Yes it takes patience, sometimes multiple trips and others is just like scanning inside.

    All my scans are done on residential real estate, so I cannot honestly comment on the pipes. I would try to scan low, then raise the tripod to regular height. That should help on alignment issues. Then you can hide the lower ones later on in workshop.

    Here is a couple examples. These are copies without hiding scans but will give you an idea about what to expect. Sometimes when you go inside and out, you will run into problems but it is an easy fix.

    Example 1

    Example 2

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  • Thanks for sharing your work. I think I will go ahead and git it a try, it is pretty cloudy where I live so it might just work fine. After the scans, I will share my experience regarding the 50 + scans outside only! :-)

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