4 weeks

How To Do Photogrammetry

Have you ever seen a 3D model and wondered how it was made?  This step-by-step course will guide you through what photogrammetry is, how it's done and how you can do it too!

How to join

You can access this course and others in our subscriber series for as little as £5 per month with a DigVentures Subscription. In addition you get priority booking at events and a range of subscriber-only training opportunities to build on what you learn online.

Photogrammetry is fast becoming one of the most useful skills in fieldwork, as well as for anyone interested in preserving or recording our heritage more generally. According to some archaeologists, photogrammetry may even be the best invention since the trowel!

Why? Because building a thorough and long-lasting archive of everything you’ve found is pretty much the most important aspect of an excavation. Without a proper record, your discoveries will soon be forgotten and become meaningless. Whether it’s artefacts, trenches, features, buildings or landscapes, every detail needs to be documented and accessible for further study, and that’s where photogrammetry comes in…

For decades, the only way of recording things was on paper, perhaps with added photographs. Nowadays, records can be created and stored digitally and, using a technique called photogrammetry, they can also be enriched with beautiful, accurate and incredibly life-like 3D models that can be shared easily for people around the world to see.

In fact, if you’ve followed our digs, you’ll probably know that thanks to these 3D models, you can virtually explore the entire excavation, from artefacts to landscapes. But what you may not know is that with a little bit of training, you can actually make these models yourself!

Photogrammetry is simply the process of using nothing but a camera, a computer and a very smart piece of software to make them.

This course provides a step-by-step guide that will take you through photogrammetry of objects, trenches, buildings and landscapes. You’ll learn everything from setting up your camera and taking the photographs, to processing your model and sharing it online. You’ll also learn why archaeologists love photogrammetry so much and what sort of role this advanced digital archival method plays alongside traditional recording techniques.

Along the way there will be videos, quizzes, top tips and hands-on-learning opportunities to help you become a master of  all things photogrammetry. Plus, there’s a Facebook study group where you can ask questions, give feedback and even share your own models. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!


Introducing Photogrammetry

When was photogrammetry invented and how is it done? Also, why are archaeologists so mad about it? Chapter One will take you through the history of photogrammetry, its uses in archaeology today and what you’ll need to make your own 3D models.


Make a 3D Object

It’s time to make your very first 3D model! Objects and artefacts are like the VIPs of archaeology – they’re instantly recognisable, get all the attention and everyone likes to look at them – so that’s where we’ll begin! In this chapter, we’ll recap on why it’s so great for archaeologists to have 3D models of the artefacts we find, cover what’s unique about object photogrammetry, and the steps you need to take to produce a good 3D model. By the end, you’ll have a digital copy of an object that you can hold in your virtual hands! Are you ready?


Make a 3D Trench

Trench photogrammetry is an important part of the modern archaeological archive. From pre-excavation strategising, to post-excavation analysis, photogrammetry is involved in practically every step along the way. Chapter Three will walk you through the valued role photogrammetry plays in the field and show you how to make accurate 3D models of trenches, features and small structures.


Aerial photogrammetry

Aerial photogrammetry is 100% as exciting as it sounds; it’s all about getting a birds-eye-view of archaeology, looking at the bigger picture, and seeing what else is hiding in the landscape. While this chapter can’t teach you to fly a drone, get you a pilot’s license, or obtain the permissions you need to get into airspace, but we can still show you the basic principles of photographing, building and interpreting a beautiful 3D landscape model!


What will I learn?

This course will show you how to make a 3D model from scratch. Each chapter is filled with helpful step-by-step videos, plus plenty of practical hints and tips from two of the best experts in the field to help you improve. We’ll explain:

What you need to know about photogrammetry:

  • Why it’s so valuable to archaeologists
  • What you need for a good 3D model (the ingredients)
  • The five basic steps (the recipe!)
  • What equipment you need (or how to make the most of what you’ve got)

How to take the right photos:

  • Camera settings, lighting and angles
  • Dealing with environmental factors
  • Adding control points for georeferencing

Piecing your 3D model together:

  • Which software options are available
  • Generating point clouds, merging chunks
  • How to share your 3D models with the world!
How does it work?

You can start this four week course anytime you like by becoming a DigVentures Subscriber.

As soon as you subscribe, you’ll receive a welcome email inviting you to login. Once you’ve logged in, you can do your chapters in bite-sized chunks, or in one whopper weekend sitting – whichever you prefer! At the end of each one, you’ll be able to prove your newfound knowledge by making your very own model.

Your email will also include an invite to join the Facebook Study Group we set up for everyone on the course – it’s where you can say hello to your fellow classmates and subscribers, and discuss what you’re learning together, share your ideas and even call on the DigVentures team for help. It’s entirely optional, but we recommend joining – it will help you get the most out of the course!

Once the course is complete, you’ll still have access to all the content, which means you can revisit the material whenever you like. You’ll be making your own 3D models in no time!

When is the next course starting?

You can start this course at anytime by becoming a Digital Subscriber.

Do I need any special equipment?

You don’t need any special equipment to do the course – just a laptop and/or smartphone is enough!

In the course, we give step-by-step instructions on how to create 3D models using two different software packages; Metashape (available for Mac and PC) and Zephyr 3D (PC only).

If you want to try following the instructions for yourself, both software packages have a free trial version which you can download for free – although they do have some restrictions on how many photos you can upload, and what you can save at the end.

There are plenty of other software packages available too. Once you’re familiar with the basic steps involved, know what type of models you’d like to make, and just how technical you’d like to get, you can always find a programme that best suits your needs, and your budget.

A similar approach applies to cameras and other photography equipment. We provide instructions that enable you to try things out and improvise with just the stuff you already have. We also provide instructions and advice on getting more technical. Again, once you’ve done the course, and know what type of models you’d like to make, and just how technical you’d like to get, you can always find equipment that best suits your needs, and your budget.

How long does it take to complete each chapter?

The answer varies by individual. So far, our participants say it takes them 2-3 hours on average. You may spend longer if you enjoy experimenting when creating your models too!

Will I still be able to access the course once it is over?

Yes, you can go back and revisit the course content at any time, for as long as you remain a Subscriber.

Who created this course?

This course has been created by DigVentures, with input from two of archaeology’s pioneering users; Adam Stanford and Chris Casswell.

The field team at DigVentures use photogrammetry in every aspect, recording artefacts, features, and trenches on each site we investigate!

Will I get a certificate?

Yes, if you want one, we’ll send you one! As soon as you complete the course, you can request a certificate it. It will be signed, stamped and dated by a member of the DigVentures team, and posted to you within a few weeks of your request.

Is the course accredited or linked to university credits?

The course does not award university credits. The best way to prove your skill to potential employers is simply to create your own portfolio!

How to join

You can access this course and others in our subscriber series for as little as £5 per month with a DigVentures Subscription. In addition you get priority booking at events and a range of subscriber-only training opportunities to build on what you learn online.

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