The best photogrammetry software (free and paid)

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There are tons of photogrammetry software out there, each with its own unique set of features. Whether you plan to create a map or a 3D model of a real-world object, there is a program that will meet your needs.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the best photogrammetry software available, both free and paid. We’ll also highlight some of their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

The best free photogrammetry software

In this section, we explore the best free photogrammetry software options currently available.

1. mesh room

Meshroom is free and open-source 3D software available for Linux and Windows. This easy-to-use software is based on the AliceVision framework and uses a node-based workflow to generate 3D models.

To use Meshroom, simply drag and drop images into the software. It will analyze the metadata of your photos to make sure they are in order and start processing the 3D image.

You can inspect which photos represent which part on the 3D scan. Analyzing individual images in a 3D scan gives you more control and a better understanding of what looks good and what doesn’t.

You can then import the results into Maya or Blender for retopology. Note that using smaller subjects or areas can make image processing times faster and more efficient. Always use high quality images to ensure you get the best quality end product. Therefore, you should aim to take your photos in a well-lit location and when the weather permits.

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2. COLMAP

COLMAP is a powerful Multi-View Stereo (MVS) and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) software with a command line and GUI. The software is available under the open-source BSD license. Moreover, it works on macOS, Windows and Linux.

The software provides all the basic tools you need to create a 3D model from one or more photographs. You can use it to align images and build 3D mesh. However, it would be better to consider using another tool to create textures.

Related: What is texture in photography? (And how to use it)

By default, COLMAP tries to automatically improve the intrinsic parameters of the camera (excluding main point) throughout the reconstruction. However, depending on your camera characteristics and image settings, COLMAP’s self-calibration process may converge to degenerate settings.

This situation is more common in sophisticated cameras with many distortion variables. The good thing is that you can always change different groups of parameters at different times during the rebuild; provided you know the calibration parameters in advance.

Although the program can handle a wide range of input images and environmental conditions, you will need to follow certain guidelines for taking photos to get the most accurate 3D reconstruction. Some factors to consider include texture, lighting, and visual overlap. It’s also best to consider vantage points when taking photos.

3. MicMac


Digitized castle of Chambord
Image credit: MicMac

MicMac is another open source photogrammetric tool that you can use on various 3D reconstruction setups. The software has a robust feature set and is primarily aimed at business or academic users, but is also suitable for general use.

The software is touted for its reliability, accuracy, and features not usually available in other software options. These include access to intermediate results in open data formats, the ability to qualitatively assess results, and a wide selection of camera calibration models.

Additionally, the software can process both digitized images from analog and push-broom sensors and handle data sets of any size.

MicMac is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you can use it to create 3D models and orthoimages. You can also use it on any scale of objects, from close range to aerial objects, in fields such as archaeology, cartography and forestry, to name a few.


The highest paid photogrammetry software

There are many paid photogrammetry software options, each with their pros and cons. Here are three of the best.

1. PIX4Dmapper

PIX4Dmapper is a leading photogrammetry software for professional drone mapping. The software is designed to suit individual users and large enterprises. It supports processing projects on your desktop using photogrammetry algorithms. It can also group them with PIX4Dcloud for online processing.

Related: Important Checks to Do Before Flying a Drone

PIX4Dmapper incorporates a workflow based on ultra-advanced image matching technology and Ground Control Points (GCPs), making it an excellent mapping tool. You can use it to process drone maps, generate 3D models and control the quality of your projects.

PIX4DMapper works with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices and is suitable for surveying, engineering and architectural professionals.

2. Agisoft Metashape

Agisoft Metashape is a software for creating 3D models and textures compatible with panorama stitching and multispectral image processing. The program allows you to create 3D models and textures of people, archaeological sites, interiors, artifacts, etc.

It supports stereoscopic measurements and 4D modeling for dynamic scenes and lets you create orthomosaics. Its unique features include detection of power lines in images and automatic processing of satellite images.

Metashare works on Windows, macOS and Linux. The software supports many popular import and export textures, including JPG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP. Moreover, it allows you to upload your model directly to web-based platforms, like Sketchfab.

3. DroneDeployment

DroneDeploy is a cloud-based platform for enterprise drone operations. It provides a simple and secure system for businesses to manage their data and drone fleets.

The software is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. With DroneDeploy, you can access features such as automated geo-referencing, automatic camera tilt adjustment, and add timestamps to points collected during flight.

DroneDeploy is easy to use and can process hundreds of maps simultaneously. You can easily upload up to 10,000 images without specialized hardware or software.

The program can also provide information on how drones are used in your business. You can use it in the construction, agriculture and renewable energy sectors.

It provides topographic level accuracy and exports map data to local projection systems. You can use it to create 2D maps, 3D models and generate data-rich analyzes from the aerial images it works on.

DroneDeploy can also be integrated with third-party applications and services, such as Autodesk and Pix4D. In addition, it is compatible with many drones certified for commercial use by the FAA. Compatible models include Phantom 4 Pro V2, Mavic 2 Pro and several Matrice drones.

Easily create templates from photos

With photogrammetry software, you can create 3D models of objects simply by taking photos from different angles. But there are many photogrammetry software options on the market, and deciding which one to use can be tricky.

This article introduces some of the best free and paid photogrammetry software currently available. We hope our list was helpful in your search for a program so you can start capturing photos of objects or people and turning them into 3D digital models!


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