In order to create photo-scans of desert formations, you have to be in the right place at the right time. The photography must be done on overcast yet dry days to reduce the self-cast shadows on the rock formations. In the desert, this is a rare event!
Living just a few miles from the San Rafael Swell in Central Utah, I’m able to drop everything and head to the desert when the lighting looks promising. Still, I’ve been thwarted by sunny skies and rain more times than I can count!
Find the Good Stuff
Explore, Explore, Explore
Photogrammetry has ruined it for me! No matter what kind of formation I’m looking at, in my brain I’m wondering if it’d be useful in the next asset pack. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? A photogrammetry asset must be useful first and foremost.
As I explore, I take note of the best formations so that, when the weather is just-so, I can return directly and begin the process of capturing something amazing for you guys.
My stomping grounds include the San Rafael Swell, the Moab area, Goblin Valley, and Capital Reef. I’m in a unique situation, with a rare set of skills not often found in the deep desert, and I’m glad to be able to bring you and your players a bit of my world to explore.
Make a Great Scan
It Takes Real Work
Sitting at the computer is less fun than adventuring. There are many, many steps required to go from photographs to a game-ready prefab that includes colliders, retopologized meshes with four levels of detail, textures with the shadows removed, and so on, etc.
I’ve found that the push-button automated solutions don’t give me results with the quality I demand– On your behalf! Shortcuts at each step cause their own problems that carry to the next step. So I do it by hand, the hard way. Each mesh takes days and I think you’ll be happy with the final product!