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Project Fundamentals: Taking Photographs

In order for your buildings to look realistic, you will apply images to them. There are several steps to take when photographing buildings for texture mapping use:

  • If you are creating a block face, keep the same distance from the buildings as you work your way down the street
  • Take a picture of the building looking straight on, try to stand in the middle of the building
  • Take photographs looking down the street in order to get protruding signs and facade differentation

Taking photographs of buildings (PDF).


Photo Preperation

After you take the photographs, paste them together in Photoshop so that you have an exact image of the block face. You will have to accomidate for parallax and erase street lights and parking meters if necessary. Below is a sample texture map with the sky erased and saved as a png file so that the areas around the building are clear.

Computer Graphics & Urban Planning
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Overview of Classes & Program
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  Setting up user name, pass, Accessing your directory locally & remotely
  Newspace versus EVL computers
  Overview of classes
Project Fundamentals
  Unix & Linux
  Ongoing projects
  Starting your own project
  Taking photographs for textures


Piece the block face together. You will notice that some of the buildings are not straight. You will have to skew them into place.
Layering the images enables you to erase over multiple views to match the perspectives and get rid of cars.
Here, I am skewing the building top into place and lining up multiple images of the building to complete the building .
I have lined up the photographs and will complete the street lights and sky to complete this block face. This method accomplishes 2 things: gives me an idea of where street lamps go and other 3 dimensional objects, and ensures me I have the buildings straight.
I have painted the sky and completed the street lights. Save this file as a PSD, do not flatten the layers. Turn off the sky and street lights, and flatten the image. Select one building at a time, copy and paste it into a new file, delete anything not related to the facade and save the copied facade as a .png. You can then apply this texture to your model in a process called texture mapping. Open this VRML file to see the building on the left applied as a texture.

Texture Mapping

Understanding how textures work will help you to apply textures to three dimensional objects. Textures are applied to the models and exported with the model to the CAVE. The following links will take you through the texture mapping process:

Texture Mapping for VRML
Web 3D Texture Mapping
Maya Texturing
UV Mapping in 3DS
Texture Mapping as a Fundamental Drawing Primitive
In Depth Look at Texture Mapping