Reconstruction and Animation
In the summer of 1991, while
ostensibly working on a railroad track condition database at the
University of Illinois, I decided that I wanted a three-dimensional
computer model of my 1980 Chevette. After some thought and
experimentation, I devised the following method of transforming
digitized pictures of the car into a reasonably accurate,
texture-mapped model. I parked the car next to a tall building and,
assisted by friend Ken Brownfield, took telephoto pictures of it from
the front, top, sides, and back. I manually located the silhouette of
the car in each image, and used the silhouettes to carve out a voxel
sculpture of the car. The surfaces of the exposed voxels were then
colored according to the images. I then created a short animation of
the Chevette flying across the screen. Although (and perhaps because)
the final model has flaws resulting from specularities, missing
concavities, and imperfect image registration, it unequivocally evokes
an uncanny sense of the actual vehicle.
The Chevette Project was mentioned in the 5/12/1997
Los Angeles Times.
|The process of modeling the Chevette. Three of the six original
photos taken June 14, 1991 are shown across the top. Ken Brownfield
appears at right, holding a backdrop to assist in image segmentation.
The box shows how the segmented Chevette images are used to carve out
the shape of the car and then to color it in; the central view is
computer-generated. A sampling of frames from an animation using the
Chevette model are shown at bottom.|
Mark Ramshaw's Feb 2002 article in CG World magazine mentions the Chevette Project's role in The Campanile Movie and beyond.
The Chevette movie is also available in MPEG (105K) and Quicktime (203K) forms. You can also view a mosaic of all of its frames.
The project was originally done using a 386 IBM PC for the modeling
and a Sun 3/80 for the rendering. The project laid the groundwork for my
Ph.D. work at UC Berkeley, Facade: Modeling and
Rendering Architecture from Photographs.
Additional Chevette Information:
||There is a page with a number of documentary photographs of taking the Chevette photographs and the original photos shot for the 3D reconstruction.|
||On the left is the earliest known film of the Chevette, seen with
its original owner (my Mom), in 1980. The dealer sticker can be seen
through the back seat window. (MPEG,
||The Chevette appeared in a May, 1994 Aerial Mapping Survey of the
UC Berkeley Campus, parked in front of my house on Vine Street.
(Click on image for wider view.) |
||The Chevette has returned to central Illinois, and as of July 20,
1997 is being safely stored in a barn on the Norton family farm, just
south of Champaign-Urbana.
|Special effects technician Karl Nettmann
used the Chevette dataset for a previsualization study for the 1999
Gadget wherein the hero (played by Matthew Broderick) drives a
Chevette prior to his robotic transformation. A photo from Karl's
previsualization is to the left and some stills from the film sequence