Couldn't find any resources on this, so I'll ask here.

For example, I want to create a game model of a mountain peak.

I took lots and lots of drone footage, almost from every side, photography footage, just lots of it. (Realistically viable amounts of footage)

Could I somehow, import, or make a 3D model out of these footages so I could import it into the game.

It should be a 3D model. Thank you.


Yes that is possible using photogrammetry like @SimonF mentioned in his comment. There is plenty of commercial and free software. Peter Falkingham has a great blog with many reviews mainly for the free tools.

Here is a video of scanning a mountain using my favourite open-source solution. Specialists do much more extreme scanning using their tools, the resulting Matterhorn point-cloud dataset is used by some of my research colleagues as well.


To cover a mountain, you will need a lot of photos. Depending on the peak size and required precision you may end up with thousands to hundreds of thousands of photos. To process all of them, it needs a lot of RAM and powerful GPU(s). I did a reconstruction for 10k photos on a Ryzen 2700X with 64 GB Ram and a 1080 Ti inside... it took 10 days to complete.

There are two critical phases:

  1. Alignment to create the sparse point cloud is partly CPU-based and requires a lot of RAM. Once the system starts to swap to the HDD, you've lost.

  2. Patch-match for the dense point cloud heavily uses the GPU and takes most of the reconstruction time.

Scanning procedure

In ideal case all photos would be taken in exact the same moment. When you fly around it takes time and the sun moves. Shadows change. That is often a problem at reconstruction so cloudy days are generally better. Try to get all footage on one day and as fast as possible. The atmospheric conditions may change the next day(s). I hope there is no snow and no water, those are the most difficult to reconstruct due to reflections :)

  • $\begingroup$ Great, thanks. Did you mean 10000 photos or photos that are 10k in resolution? $\endgroup$ May 15 '20 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ It was 10.000 photos of different resolutions, some were 4K some were 8K. Resolution is not that important, since you can always downsample and the 3d reconstruction frameworks often do that automatically. The number of photos is the crucial factor for computational complexity. There has to be enough overlap between them, but too much of it (like taking each video frame) is an overkill. Finding a sweet spot is important to balance the result quality vs. computation time. $\endgroup$
    – Isolin
    May 15 '20 at 10:12
  • $\begingroup$ Btw I see you are from Orava @TimotejLeginus. I ♡ Tatry :) Will be glad to help you with any details! $\endgroup$
    – Isolin
    May 15 '20 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ Oh I noticed you're from Slovakia too. Thanks for the help. I am planning to make a 3D model out of Osobitá, or some peak in Roháče, to be used in a game (something similar to Mýrdalssandur, Iceland or Fushimi Inari, virtual walkthrough games). It is generally forbidden to visit Osobitá, it's restricted to only some time a year, so people can virtually visit it. How much photos would you assume that a peak like Osobitá would take? Check it out on Google Earth. $\endgroup$ May 15 '20 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I know it. Please be aware that Osobita has a local nature reserve status within TANAP. Flying an UAV over there is a double violation of the park rules. That being said, the # of photos depends on the details you want. I would go for a combination of a reconstructed model enhanced with stock assets like rocks and generated foliage. You should be good with 5k-20k photos then. Before starting big, try it in small scale (e.g. a single object from ~50 photos, then something bigger with ~ 500, e.g. some boulder) so that you get a feeling for the workflow and expected results quality. $\endgroup$
    – Isolin
    May 15 '20 at 12:54

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