If you need to make custom 3-D models but can’t spare the time or expense, VR Interactive’s iModeller 3D Professional 2.0 can help. Instead of learning complex traditional 3-D tools, you can create 3-D models in iModeller simply by taking a series of digital photos of an object. The program then uses your photos to calculate the object’s geometry.
iModeller can provide good results. It’s an intriguing tool that goes toe-to-toe with Realviz’s ImageModeler 3.5 (
; September 2003). But for a highly complex model, its output may not be as detailed as you’d like.
To use iModeller, you have to photograph your object from different angles on a reference image and then import the photos into the program.
You’ll need to shoot against a solid background and ensure that your scene is evenly lit. Usually a combination of six or seven images, shot from a variety of angles, is plenty. The program then analyzes all of the images to locate the reference image.
Next, you need to create masks for each image to separate your object from the background. Because the masking tools don’t follow standard Adobe Photoshop conventions, you may find it easier to use Photoshop or your favorite image-editing program for this step.
Finally, a click of the 3D tab starts the program on its 3-D construction. After creating the geometry, iModeller applies textures to your model from the original source images to produce a final textured model. The problem is that it takes a lot of work.
iModeller is best for curvy or organic shapes that are hard to model with a regular 3-D package, but it isn’t very effective at modeling objects with regular geometric forms or hard edges. iModeller can export to a number of native 3-D formats, including Cinema 4D and 3D Studio Max.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
iModeller 3D Professional 2.0 is handy for modeling weird and organic shapes. While it doesn’t replace a traditional modeling app, it’s great if all you need are placeholder objects that won’t be viewed in too much detail.