Modeling Photographs in 3D with Project Photofly

Yesterday Autodesk released a very impressive new technology they call Project Photofly. With Project Photofly you can quickly and easily generate 3D models using nothing more than photographs taken with your digital camera. Although Photofly will certainly work with fancy SLR cameras that cost their owner their first-born; your smaller, more compact, and much cheaper digital camera will work just as well.

Photofly will take the photos you load into it, upload them to the web, do the necessary bean counting on a server much more powerful than your personal computer, and automagically download a 3D model to your computer. You can then view the model inside the Photofly software, or even export the points to AutoCAD. Here’s a quick video I recorded as I created my first Photofly model:

Project Photofly is a FREE download from the Autodesk Labs website. Like me, I’m sure the wheels are turning with ideas of ways you might be able to utilize this technology.

Found a cool use for Project Photofly? Share your ideas in the comments section of this post.

Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.


  1. Can I create textures from within the program? I saw them building a wireframe model in their software but I wasn’t sure whether there is an option to export both the wireframe and texture pictures.
    Have you tried that?

    PS: You didn’t name Photosynth as a project with similarities.

  2. Mark – Thanks for stopping by and looking at the video. The time it takes to upload and then receive the images will vary based on your internet connection. While I did “tee things up” before recording this video, it took less than a minute to upload and then receive the images for the first time. That said, slow processing time is likely the result of a slower internet connection. If you're in an office environment, I'd start by checking into how many people are streaming things like internet radio.

  3. Hi Donnie, I saw your video (great) and tried Photofly myself. I have a great deal of interest in the technology, but unfortunately have not had the success you have had in getting the photos processed. How long was the wait for you when the images?

  4. Thanks for the YouTube video. I have linked to it from the Labs site. It's great that you have shared Project Photofly with your readers. It will hep us get feedback.

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