How to process images of a spherical camera

Pix4D Desktop can process images captured with spherical, full 360 degree cameras. These cameras have many advantages because it is easy to achieve high overlap with less images, it is faster to capture a complete dataset and it is efficient to process, since the calibration of the camera is done by the manufacturer and calibrating the model takes less time. 

On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages that should be taken into account: the quality of the calibration of the manufacturer affects a lot the reconstruction since remaining distortions are not taken into account while processing, large parts of the images can be covered by sky, or undesired objects due to the wide field of view adding noise in the reconstruction and the images may need pre-processing to be converted to the required format (equirectangular).

Some spherical cameras are already included in the camera database of Pix4D Desktop and they will be automatically detected for processing: 

  • Ladybug 5: All versions of the Ladybug camera can export in the equirectangular image format.
  • NCTech iStar
  • Ricoh Theta
  • Ricoh Theta S
 
Important: Any spherical camera that supports the equirectangular format is also supported. For more information about the equirectangular format: What is the equirectangular Image format?.

To process a spherical project in Pix4D Desktop:

1. Create a project: Step 2. Creating a Project.
2. Import the equirectangular spherical images or video and click Next
3. (optional) If a video is imported, select the frames to be extracted in the Video Extraction Options pop-up.
4. In the Selected Camera Model section of the Image Properties window, click Edit....
5. In the Edit Camera Model window that appears, in the Camera Model Parameters section, make sure that Spherical Camera is selected and click OK.
6. Click Next
7. In the Select Output Coordinate System window, select the output coordinate system: Select Image / GCP / Output Coordinate System  and click Next.
8. In the Processing Options Template window, select 3D Models
9. Click Finish
10. Process the project.  

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13 comments

  • Sergio Lugo

    Hello

    Can I process this type of images using pix4d cloud?

     

    Thank you

  • Beata (Pix4D)

    Hi Sergio.

    Yes. Please do the following:

    1. Open the Pix4Dmapper Desktop.
    2. Follow the instruction from above.
    3. Upload the project to the Cloud - how to upload project files from Desktop to Cloud

    If you have any other questions, I'm here to help you.

  • Marcelo Rodacki

    Hello.

    I have a GoPro Fusion 360, but it is not working very well. Will Pix4D have this model in the camera database?

    Thank you

  • Marco (Pix4D)

    Hi Marcelo,

    What do you mean it is not working well? In Pix4Dmapper or Cloud?

    If the camera can provide the equirectangular format, it should work with Pix4D.
    What-is-the-equirectangular-image-format

    The software has not recognized your camera model because the images were taken with the GoPro Fusion 360, which is not in our camera database at the moment.
    Have you tried to set up the camera parameters as described above?

    Best

  • Marcelo Rodacki

    Hi.

     

    In Pix4Dmapper... I'm trying to create indoor point clouds, but they are getting poor... I tried to set up the camera parameters but Pix4D doesn't allow to edit parameters of spherical cameras. 

     

    Thanks.

  • Marco (Pix4D)

    Hi Marcelo,

    Normally if you are uploading spherical images there should by recognized and you should be able to see this (for iSTARPulsar):

    Make sure that your images are in the equirectangular format. If so then, you will be able to see the spherical option in the camera edition window.

    Best

  • Shahrir Yaziz

     

    Hi Marco. I try to process images from our project using iSTARPulsar same as your screenshot.

    However the pop up appear says license only allowed to process 55MP image only.

    We have purchase pix4d mapper perpetual license.

    are there any limit of camera megapixel in order to use this function?

    Thanks

  • Beata (Pix4D)

    Hello,

    Indeed, there is a limit. You would need to have a large-frame add-on.

    Please contact our Sales Department so they can offer you a solution. 

    Regards

  • Steve Brown

    Hi Marco/Beata,

    I have uploaded photos from a Garmin 360 Virb, which produces equirectangular photos.  However, Pix4D (desktop) is not recognizing these photos as such and, therefore, is not giving me an option to select a spherical camera.  The only options are fisheye or perspective. Any guidance would be most helpful!!

    Edited by Steve Brown
  • Alice (Pix4D)

    Hi Steve,

    Could you provide a sample of the dataset (10 images)? If you prefer, you can open a new personal request at this link: https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?. 

    Thank you

  • Steve Brown

    Hi Alice,  I am sending you a sample dataset now. 

     

    Thanks!

  • Steve Brown

    Hi Alice,

    I just updated to Mapper 4.4.12 and when I upload photos from the Virb 360 into a project, the program appears to recognize the Virb 360 camera by default.  

    However, it recognizes it as a "Perspective Lens" as opposed to "Spherical".  

    Also, on the "Distortions" section at the bottom there are no values other than zero.  

    See the screenshot below:

     

    Does Pix4D have the values to fill this in?

    Additionally when I attempted to process some photos taken from the Virb 360 it would fail.  It gave a few errors including "uncalibrated camera".

    See the log below:

    [UI]: Image Properties Editor clicked.

    [UI]: Processing Options clicked.

    [UI]: Processing Start clicked.

    [Processing]: Step1Running

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint extraction started.

    [Processing]: Gather image information

    [Processing]: Generate normalized/thumbnail images

    [Processing]: Computing keypoints

    [Processing]: Write Keypoints.

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint extraction finished.

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint matching started.

    [Processing]: Generating pairs

    [Processing]: Computing matches

    [Processing]: Write matches.

    [Processing]: Write matches.

    [Processing]: Substep Keypoint matching finished.

    [Processing]: Initialize automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Building automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Substep Camera calibration started.

    [Processing]: Analyse automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Analyse automatic tie points.

    [Processing]: Compute number of matches.

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Processing]: Initialize calibration

    [Warning]: No initial frame

    [Error]: no blocks computed

    [Processing]: Substep Camera calibration finished.

    [Error]: No calibrated cameras.

    [Processing]: Substep Report generation started.

    [Processing]: Read keypoints.

    [Processing]: Substep Report generation finished.

    [Error]: Error e0046: Processing failed. No calibrated cameras.

    [Processing]: ProjectLoaded

    I tried processing in the cloud in as well but this failed as well for the same reasons.

    How do you recommend I should proceed?

    Thanks so much!

     

  • Holden (Pix4D)

    Hi Steve. The info is being filled in from the image EXIF and the distortion parameters and the lens type are not typically included. This is why it is not filled in in the camera model. This would also explain the uncalibrated images. 

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