Friday, February 22nd, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Get SideFX’s free AliceVision photogrammetry plugin

SideFX has released a free plugin for Houdini implementing the open-source AliceVision photogrammetry framework inside the 3D animation and effects software.

The plugin, which is available via SideFX’s Game Development Toolset, makes it possible to launch image-based modelling jobs within Houdini and have the 3D model appear directly in the Houdini viewport.

Based on a powerful open-source photogrammetry framework
AliceVision is a well-regarded open-source photogrammetry framework created from the contributions of a number of leading French research institutions and VFX facilities.

Although the initial research goes back to 2009, official releases first became available on GitHub last year.

The framework generates textured 3D meshes from sets of photographs of real-world objects, exporting the geometry in OBJ format.

Intermediate point cloud data can be exported in Alembic format, and depth maps as EXR files.

While AliceVision itself runs from the command line, there are free GUIs available for it: standalone photogrammetry tool Meshroom and Maya plugin MeshroomMaya.

Access AliceVision’s functionality directly within the Houdini node graph
Foundry’s work expands that list of GUIs, exposing AliceVision’s functionality directly within Houdini as an SOP network, with nodes corresponding to each stage of the photogrammetry process.

As with the firm’s Reality Capture plugin for Houdini, released last year, you will need the source software installed separately on your machine to do any actual photogrammetry work.

Unlike Reality Capture, AliceVision is free, although you will need a newish Nvidia GPU to make use of it, since it uses CUDA for GPU processing.

Availability and system requirements
SideFX’s AliceVision plugin for Houdini is available for Houdini 16.5+ via the free Game Development Toolset.

Updated 11 April 2019: As of the latest update, the plugin is available for Linux as well as Windows.

AliceVision and Meshroom are available under the MPL2 licence. Compiled binaries of Meshroom are available for Linux as well as Windows.

Read more about the free AliceVision plugin for Houdini on Side FX’s website (Includes download links)

Read more about AliceVision on the project’s GitHub page (Includes download link for Meshroom)