Tips to "Match Photo" or camera in a geo-located model to a drone's photo with location metadata?

I want to create some renderings (e.g. using V-Ray) of what a small house would look like out in a field. I flew a drone and have a dozen or so photos of the location, and the photos have GPS coordinates and pitch/heading data. I can use SketchUp’s “Geo-locate” feature to pull in the terrain and build the home in the correct spot. My plan is to match the SketchUp camera with the drone photos, matching the exactly orientation, FOV, etc, so that I can render the house and then use Photoshop to put the rendered house into the existing real drone photo. However, I am struggling to align the SketchUp camera location with the drone photo. “Match New Photo” keeps moving my camera to below the landscape, and trying to align a watermark is a tedious trial-and-error process. I’ve tried doing some math of the GPS coordinates of the origin and the GPS coordinates of the drone photo and using “Place Camera” to put the view at the correct location, then setting the FOV to the drone’s, but it doesn’t align very well, and this is a tedious process as it takes a few second to update the view.

Does anyone have any tips to help me match the camera view in SketchUp with a drone photo? I have a geo-located model, and a dozen photos with GPS and heading/pitch data, and want to align the SketchUp camera with these drone photos. My goal is to be able to match a dozen different angles without a lot of manual intervention. Thank you.

I got lucky once that a had a site with an existing barn on it and also in the surveyor’s plan that I could use as a reference for Match Photo, but a totally empty site except for vegetation has nothing for Match Photo to latch on to. I put another reply in another thread, but it helps to know that when working with Field of View and Angle of view that SU has a bug when figuring Focal Length. I found it frustrating till I finally figured out what it was. The bug doesn’t happen when using TomTom’s Safe Frame plugin, so that may also help.

@RTCool , your Barn example is practically exactly what I’m trying to do, but without any convenient right angles in the field for the photo match feature :). I see here and elsewhere your mentions of TomTom’s Safe Frame plugin, an SU bug with Focal Length, and using a watermark instead of the match photo function. I welcome any tips you may have for using the watermark feature (like certain blending modes), and if you’ve stumbled upon any other tools that allow me to quickly shift the blending modes and relative transparencies of the watermark and the SU image, that would be fantastic.

So far though, thank you! You’ve pointed me in some promising directions and I’ll be exploring them more today. If this project is successful, I may be asked to match literally DOZENS more photos in the next few weeks, which will become a frustrating endeavor if I don’t figure out some tools to aid me here :(.

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You’re exploring a problem I’ve wondered about and wanted to solve, but haven’t really come up with a good answer for. All my camera calculations are based on a full frame 35mm camera. A drone camera is probably different, so that takes a little more thought to relate whatever it has, but not being aware of the focal length bug but would certainly frustrate your efforts. With the prevalence of drones now, this has to be a common enough problem to get a good treatment either by plugin or in the base program.

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that there isn’t already a plugin that I run in a geo-located model, where I feed the plugin a photo taken from the drone, and the plugin creates a new scene that matches the photo from that camera’s location based on metadata. Add in the ability for the user to do a little bit of easy shifting around (due to GPS and gimbal measurement inaccuracies) and this would be a very useful tool for a lot of people. I didn’t factor a ton of time into this project’s budget for matching the photos, so I’m still hopeful that I can find some more tools to help :-/.