This article aims at detailing the workflow and best practices to use Pix4D products for real estate purposes with a Parrot Bebop 2 to capture images.
- How can I get access to Pix4D products?
- What does the Pix4Dmodel license include?
- How can I get assistance?
- How should I proceed to start? What is the workflow?
- How to fly with Pix4Dcapture app?
- How to transfer the images to Pix4Dmodel cloud?
- How to process on Pix4Dmodel cloud?
- How to process with Pix4Dmodel desktop?
- How to use advanced desktop features?
- Share, publish, export to 3rd party software or 3D print your 3D model
For real estate applications with a Bebop 2, Pix4Dmodel is a hybrid solution that gives unlimited access to Pix4D desktop, cloud and app. Additional information about Real Estate and Pix4Dmodel can be found on Pix4D website.
Pix4D Support Site provides a wealth of information with many articles in the knowledge base.
Pix4D Forum allows to share experience and interact with the Support Team.
Parrot Customer Support also gives access to a personalized help.
The general workflow that is suggested consists in the following steps:
1. Plan and fly a mission with Bebop 2 and Pix4Dcapture app.
2. Transfer the images from the drone to the device and upload the mission to the cloud.
3. Process on the cloud with default settings.
4. Share, publish, export to 3rd party software or 3D print your 3D model.
The Getting Started provides the basis for understanding the app: Pix4Dcapture - Getting Started (Android and iOS). It is recommended to carefully read the instructions before going to the field and starting the first flight. The app connects to Bebop 2 with or without a remote controller. For more information: (Android and iOS) How to connect to Parrot Bebop 2?.
Different types of mission can be selected depending on the purpose of the mapping. For more information:(Android, iOS) Which type of mission to choose. For real estate applications, a simple grid mission combined with a circular mission would be a good option.
There are three ways to upload the images to the cloud:
1. Through Pix4Dcapture: Synchronizing consists in generating the Pix4D project file (.p4d) on the mobile device and transferring the images from the drone. This can be done on the field right after the flight or later in the office: (Android) How to synchronize and upload the mission to the cloud (Android), (iOS) How to synchronize and upload a mission to the cloud (iOS). Then the mission can be uploaded to the cloud when Internet connection is available.
2. Directly on Pix4Dmodel cloud: Cloud general questions.
3. Through Pix4Dmodel desktop: How to upload project files from desktop to cloud. Make sure to check the box Start Processing.
Once the images are uploaded to the cloud, the processing starts automatically on Pix4D servers and a notification is send by email to confirm the status of the project. When the processing is completed, a second email is sent with the direct link to access the project.
The following instructions explain how to share the model and download the inputs or outputs:
1. Go to Pix4D cloud.
2. Select the solution Pix4Dmodel.
3. In the 3D Models list, click the mission’s name.
4. Click Share to send the link of the 3D mesh viewer.
5. Click Back to 3D Models to download files from the 3D Models list.
5.1. Click Download > Input to save both the images and .p4d file to desktop.
5.2. ClickDownload > Mesh or Quality Report to save the outputs to desktop.
A minimum hardware configuration is required to successfully process projects on a computer. For more information: System requirements: Minimum and recommended computer specifications.
After downloading the .zip input file from the cloud, proceed as follows. A Bebop 2 demo project is available for download if needed: Example projects.
1. Install and open Pix4D desktop: Software Download and Installation.
2. In the Login window, enter the license credentials and click Login.
3. Select the license Pix4Dmodel and click OK.
4. Click Project > Open Project... and select the .p4d that was downloaded from the cloud to open the project.
5. (optional) Create the project from scratch with the 3D Models processing template using the images acquired with Pix4Dcapture: Step 2. Creating a Project
6. On the menu bar, click View > Processing. In the Processing bar at the bottom, check the box 1. Initial Processing and click Start.
7. Analyze the calibration results: 3D modeling with Parrot Bebop 2.
8. Use specific tools and customize the settings to achieve the best 3D model: 3D modeling with Parrot Bebop 2.
9. On the menu bar, click View > Processing. In the Processing bar at the bottom, check the box 2. Point Cloud and Mesh and click Start.
10. Improve the results and use rayCloud features: 3D modeling with Parrot Bebop 2.
11. Export files and outputs. The 3D Textured Mesh is 3D printable and compatible with several third-party programs. More information in this article Pix4D outputs with other software > by output and in section Share, publish, export to 3rd party software or 3D print your 3D model.
Improve the calibration
A Quality Report is exported to summarize the first results and provide a detailed analysis on the calibration of the images. It is located here: ...\project_name\1_initial\report\Project_name_report.pdf. For more information: Quality Report Help.
If the processing fails, most common causes are related to the image quality, the overlap or the camera model. For more information: Quality Report Help. To test the reliability of the reconstruction, checking the reprojection error is recommended: Reprojection error. It might be required to add Manual Tie Points (MTPs): How to import and mark Manual Tie Points (MTPs).
The following features have no impact on step 1. Initial Processing but affect the computation during step 2. Point Cloud and Mesh and the subsequent outputs.
- Processing area: By default, a processing area is automatically created in the .p4d file after acquiring images with Pix4Dcapture app. However, the project boundaries (planar but also minimum and maximum altitude) can be adjusted in the rayCloud by editing the processing area or drawing a new one. For more information: How to select / draw the Processing Area.
- Annotation tool: Another tool to optimize the results generated during step 2. Point Cloud and Mesh is to annotate the images in order to discard some parts of their content like sky or undesirable repetitive patterns. For more information: How to Annotate Images in the rayCloud.
Processing options: It is recommended to keep the default options of the 3D Models template, but the settings for generating the point cloud and the mesh, as well as the export formats, can be changed if necessary. For more information: Menu Process > Processing Options... > 2. Point Cloud and Mesh > 3D Textured Mesh.
Edit and improve the mesh
- Edit Densified Point cloud: The points can be assigned to different groups. The point cloud editor is useful to remove undesired points e.g. due to noise, vegetation or from the background. For more information: How to edit the point cloud in the rayCloud. The editing affects the visualization of the point cloud. However, since the mesh is derived from the point cloud, it is possible to (re-)generate the mesh so that the deleted points are discarded. For more information: How to generate the 3D Textured Mesh.
- Create surfaces to improve the mesh: To improve the mesh and especially the visual aspect of flat objects like building facades. For more information: How to improve the 3D textured mesh.
- Polylines and surfaces can be created in the rayCloud to perform 2D measurements. For more information: How to measure Distances, Areas or Volumes.
Video creation tool
- Video animation trajectory: Besides exporting the 3D Textured Mesh, a flythrough video made from different views of the point cloud or mesh displayed in the rayCloud can be generated and exported. For more information: How to create a Video Animation Trajectory in the rayCloud.
This section describes how to share, publish, export to 3rd party software or 3D print your 3D model (mesh).
How to share
Pix4Dmodel cloud: Click the Share button and an external link and an HTML embedded link to the project will be created. More information in section How to process on Pix4Dmodel cloud. Note: this enables to share a 3D view of the project.
Pix4Dmodel desktop: In the desktop version it is possible to share the 3D model as .dxf, .fbx, .obj, .ply, 3D .pdf, .osgb and .slpk: How to generate the 3D Textured Mesh. A Video Animation in .avi, .mkv and .mp4 can also be shared, the location of the result files is user defined: How to create a Video Animation Trajectory in the rayCloud
Compatibility with 3rd party software
The outputs of Pix4Dmodel cloud and desktop are compatible with many 3rd party softwares, such as:
- Maya: Applications with Autodesk products.
- Meshmixer: How to import a 3D Textured Mesh into Meshmixer.
- AutoCAD: Applications with Autodesk products.
For the full output compatibility list: Pix4D outputs with other software > by output.
How to 3D print your 3D model
Outputs from Pix4Dmodel cloud and desktop can be printed in 3D: Pix4D outputs for 3D printing