Photogrammetry And Real-time Graphics

Photogrammetry And Real-time Graphics
June 21, 2018
Photo Credit: Landscape, by Tim Crowson


Up-and-coming indie game developer Cristiano Siqueira, an Intel® Software Innovator, will be demonstrating how he’s pushing the limits of what can be done with real-life graphics for gaming environments at SIGGRAPH 2018.  This five-day event, held in Vancouver this August, showcases the latest tech in computer graphics (CG), animation, virtual reality, games, digital art, mixed reality and emerging technologies.


Project:  The State of Photogrammetry in Real-Time Graphics

Cristiano will present a tech demo at the Intel booth showcasing a natural environment that was made solely from photogrammetry assets.  What started out as playing around to see what kind of photorealism was possible with real-time graphics in Unreal Engine* 4 turned into exploring how the larger indie game developer audience could create natural environments made of real-life scans. 


The State of Photogrammetry in Real-Time Graphics is just the first phase of Cristiano’s ambitious project as an indie developer.  The final project, targeting the high-end enthusiast PC platform, will be a full game made of real-life scans allowing incredible photorealistic graphics.

What is Photogrammetry?

According to Wikipedia, photogrammetry “is the science of making measurements from photographs, especially for recovering the exact positions of surface points”.  Cristiano explains that in terms of digital art, photogrammetry allows us to “extract” assets from our real-life.  The most common use for this is for natural assets such as rocks, trees and plants that are needed for gaming environments. 


Nature tends to be chaotic which is quite a challenge for 3D artists to recreate in a high-detailed and realistic manner.  It can be done, but it might take weeks depending on the type of asset and the level of sculpting expertise required.  These assets that are extremely hard to create by hand are referred to as “hero” assets, and this is where photogrammetry comes into play.  It allows artists to extract an asset exactly the way that it is in real-life inside of 3D software.  This ultimately results in an asset that is considered “hero+” quality and allows you to replicate the asset in much higher quantities versus a hand-sculpted method. 


It’s worth mentioning that photogrammetry is a technique that’s been available for quite some time, in fact it has been around as long as modern photography.  Historically it was very resource intensive and very few CG studios were able to make use of it.  As technology tends to involve, even today’s entry-level DSLR cameras are quite capable of granting you decent assets which allows indie game developers and game studios alike to create and use high-quality, natural looking assets in their work.

Photo Credit: Photogrammetry, Allegorithmic blog


Cristiano is enthusiastic to attend SIGGRAPH for the first time and demo his project to this audience.  He believes that while there will likely be quite a number of similar projects at the show his project will be well positioned among them.  He has livestreamed SIGGRAPH via YouTube for several years and sees it as the best CG event for those seeking what the next big innovations and technologies in the industry will be and is excited to be a part of it.  Cristiano’s also confident that as his project advances into the next phase that it will be a one-of-a-kind demo at SIGGRAPH 2019.  

Project Challenges

One of the biggest challenges in a project is to take an idea that is great on paper and put it into practice.  For Cristiano and his team, a lack of general resources was the stumbling block that they had to overcome.  Both Intel and AMD recognized the possibilities in this project and stepped in to support them by providing hardware which enabled the team to build their workstations and develop the project on top of their platforms.  Once this happened the project started coming together very quickly.

Technical Details

For the demo of this first phase of the project, The State of Photogrammetry in Real-Time Graphics, that will be presented in Vancouver at SIGGRAPH 2018, the hardware involved is an Intel® Core™ i9 7980XE Extreme Edition processor, Intel® Optane™ SSD 900P series paired with a multi-CPU configuration of Radeon* Vega Frontier Edition Graphics card.  They are also using Unreal Engine 4, Quixel* Megascans and Allegorithmic* Substance Designer for the software in this phase. 


It is worth mentioning that as the project moves forward the full game will be built using the latest and greatest high-end hardware that is available at the time alongside powerful software packages, such as the Allegorithmic Suite, Autodesk* Suite, Quixel Suite, Agisoft Photoscan, SideFX Houdini* and more. 

Photo Credit: Wasteland, by Dan Woje

Next Steps

Cristiano and his team have recently formed a game studio and are just getting started on a five-year development journey.  The full project will be a game called O.D.I.N, and this first tech demo, featuring phase one of the project is The State of Photogrammetry in Real-Time Graphics.  The next phase of their project will consist of creating a full-fledged tech demo including main characters and gameplay which is set for Q1 2019. 


The focus for the overall project is to innovate and differentiate from what is found in the market currently by creating a game made of real-life scans allowing incredible photorealistic graphics.  They will be using top-of-the-line hardware to the full extent of its capabilities to target the high-end enthusiast PC market.  This journey will involve presenting their latest developments at tech shows annually to showcase the milestone achievements they make through each phase of the development. 


Like a lot of innovative projects, they’ve skipped over the crawling and walking phases and started out at a sprint.  With everything happening so fast, the team is currently working to create a website and YouTube channel where people can follow along with the project developments as well as find valuable information on this ambitious project and the team creating it.  They are also still searching for companies, programs and people to assist them with the funding that will be required to complete the foundation of the game studio and allow them to acquire equipment in addition to what Intel and AMD manufacture. 

Intel® Software Innovator Cristiano Siqueira

With expertise in the product design field and a focus on the tech industry, Intel Software Innovator Cristiano Siqueira is a technology enthusiast that is always trying to create something new and innovative.  He is a 3D generalist with experience working with the industry standard packages such as Autodesk, Allegorithmic and Quixel Suites.  Cristiano is also an innovator in Intel’s GameDev programand is working towards graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Uberaba (UNIUBE) in Brazil. 

Want to learn more about the Intel® Software Innovator Program?

You can read about our innovator updates, get the full program overview, meet the innovators and learn more about innovator benefits.  We also encourage you to check out Developer Mesh to learn more about the various projects that our community of innovators are working on.

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