Archaeology experiences for all

How To Do Photogrammetry

Want to create your own 3D models and virtual artefacts? Photogrammetry is fast becoming an essential skill for any archaeologist or heritage-lover who wants to record or share their discoveries online. This step-by-step course will guide you through the process, from start to finish.

Photogrammetry is a simple but powerful way to create 3D models from photos. Whether you want to do it at home, or ‘in the field’, this course will show you how to capture artefacts, monuments, archaeological sites, and even entire landscapes. By the end of the course, you’ll know how to turn your photos into 3D models that you can share online.

Become a DigVentures Subscriber to start this course anytime, and get access to all of our other archaeology online courses too!

Learn core skills

This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

This course is tailored to teach you the actual process of doing photogrammetry from start to finish. It focuses on what you need to know if you’re an archaeologist or heritage-lover who wants to create 3D models of your discoveries, but the skills and techniques can be used by anyone.

We’ll start with a beginner’s introduction to photogrammetry, including what it is, where it came from, why it’s so useful to archaeologists, the five basic steps of making any 3D model, as well as what makes a ‘good’ model, and what makes a better one.

We’ll then guide you through the process of modelling small objects and artefacts indoors, before working our way up to larger subjects like trenches, buildings, monuments, and even entire landscapes.

Whether you simply love heritage and want to upgrade your photography skills, are an aspiring archaeologist keen to learn cutting-edge techniques, or a metal detectorist who wants to share their discoveries online, this course is for you!

Course chapters

Chapter 1 - Getting started

This chapter provides a brief history of photogrammetry, and what archaeologists use it for. We’ll also cover what makes a ‘good’ model, the five basic steps involved, and how to get started using nothing but a camera and a laptop. We’ll also provide advice on choosing the right kit if you want to try something a bit more advanced.

Chapter 2 - Object photogrammetry

Ready to make your first model? Whether the thing you want to model is a 4,000 year-old figurine or a modernist teapot, this chapter will show you how to get the right lighting, take the best photos, and stitch them together to create a beautiful 3D model.

Chapter 3 - Terrestrial photogrammetry

It’s time to step outdoors! This chapter takes you through the process of photogrammetry while you’re exposed to the elements, and trying to create 3D models of trenches, features and small monuments – including the practicalities of using a pole-mounted camera to capture overhead shots.

Chapter 4 - Photogrammetry with wiiiiiings!

Ready to take your photogrammetry skills to the next level? This chapter introduces you to the ups and downs of using UAVs (aka ‘drones’) to create 3D models of entire landscapes, plus how to continue your journey into photogrammetry.

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!

More info

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.

Chris Casswell is Head of Fieldwork at DigVentures, and has been experimenting with photogrammetry in the field for 10+ years to record artefacts, features, and trenches.

Adam Stanford is Director of Aerial-Cam Ltd. and Hon. Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Cardiff University. He is a specialist in aerial photography and photogrammetry, providing professional 3D modeling for sites like Orkney, Stonehenge, and Easter Island.

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!

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