Techniques Used to Create High Resolution Virtual Models of Geologic Specimens Using Photgrammetry

Tuesday 1:30pm-2:40pm
Share-a-Thon Part of Share-a-Thon


Ryan Hollister, Modesto Junior College


This presentation will feature several new techniques used to create extremely high-definition 3D models of rock specimens.


Virtual 3D geologic models created using photogrammetry are an extremely useful tool that can increase student access to hand samples and outcrops. A small community of geoscientists, teachers and students have been experimenting with photogrammetry software over the past four years to create a repository of freely-accessible geologic models on In the absence of a geology-specific photogrammetry instruction manual, individuals used varying methods of lighting, photography and processing to generate models that were serviceable representations of the actual rock samples.

Why It Works

Thanks to continued experimentation and advances in photographic capture and processing techniques, the ability to create high resolution 3D models has dramatically improved over the past three years. Techniques, tips and tricks will include:
  • How to create an inexpensive photo tent and turntable.
  • How to create shadowless, even lighting.
  • How to capture an entire specimen by using pixel targeting.
  • Raw image processing.
  • Improved Agisoft Metashape workflow.