Pix4D Abbey-picture para-1

Leveraging 3D modeling and printing skills as a service

Combining aerial photography, photogrammetry-based 3D modeling, and 3D printing to preserve cultural heritage.

Exploring ways to expand and better their services, Unautregard developed a project to present what can be achieved by combining aerial photography, photogrammetry-based 3D modeling, and 3D printing.

“First we had to select iconic buildings on the island which were aesthetic enough to highlight their aerial capturing, and interesting enough in terms of volumes to be 3D printed.” said Guy Dentan

PartnersPlanète Sports & Loisirs and 3D Arcwest
IndustryCultural heritage, real estate
Project DateNovember 2016
Project MembersNumber of members
Project Size4,800m2 (Abbey), 11,600m2 (Church)
Number of Images851 (Abbey), 1,222 (Church)
GSD1.06 cm (Abbey), 0.7 cm (Church)

Each participant brought up different elements to the project: Guy Dentan from Unautregard added his photography and photogrammetry-based 3D modeling expertise, Michael Morin from Planète Sports & Loisirs his aerial photography skills, and Killian Jouan from 3D Arcwest his 3D printing experience.

Workflow demonstrating the process of taking an image to 3D printing it

The project comprised three stages: capturing the aerial images, processing them into 3D models using Pix4D software, and 3D printing the resulting meshes.

Adapting data acquisition methods

An aerial view of the ruins of the Abbey of Chatelier

The data acquisition methods and equipment had to be adapted to two different environment conditions. The ruins of the Abbey of Chatelier, constructed in the 12th century, are located in the middle of fields in a rural environment. The church of Ars-en-Ré, a building dating from the 15th century, stands with its emblematic black and white bell tower on a square in the center of the village, in a densely built area.

Abbey of Chatelier

A 3D print of the ruins of the Abbey of Chatelier,

The processing Quality Report of this project outlined a GSD of 1.06 cm / 0.42 in. The mesh generated by Pix4D was optimal upon completion of calculation; it offered unparalleled realism and a very high level of detail. Shrubs around the ruins were cleared using Pix4D editing tools to make the model ready to print in 3D.

The sum equals more than its parts

Printing the Abbey of Chatelier
Guy Dentan of Unautregard

“I am constantly seeking to understand, master, and associate the best technologies available on the market to create an innovative package of products and services. It is a genuine work philosophy.

"I simply don’t find it interesting to develop what already exists. For this project, we had to combine drones, digital photography, Pix4D software, 3D modeling, and printing to form a coherent set to satisfy or create customer needs.

"A sales pitch is a lot more convincing when showing the complete process with images rather than delivering long explanations. I spend a lot of time making videos of my different projects to share with future customers and their feedback is always excellent since Pix4D models and exports are of outstanding quality.”

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