Picture a building, maybe even one that you know fairly well. Now picture how it looks from the inside. The more you think about it, the harder it is to get the full scope of the building, right? There’s no way to see all of its constituent parts without sawing the thing completely in half. Or, you could just let computers do the work.
That's how a company called Oddviz created the psychedelic video you see above of the Sofa Hotel in Istanbul. Using a photography technique called photogrammetry, they were able to cohere every nook and cranny of each room into one complete visualization (and, if you don’t mind grinding your browser to a halt, interactive 3D model) of the hotel using nearly 10,000 photos.
A technique called photogrammetry has made it easier to create wild, almost impossible 3D models
Photogrammetry is a relatively brute process where a computer combines thousands of photos taken from slightly different angles, and uses all that overlapping data to create 3D models. With the continued rapid increase in available computing power, it’s becoming a more intriguing option for building models like these where immediate and extreme precision isn’t necessary. When I visited Turn 10 Studios in May to get a glimpse of Forza Motorsport 7, the team that builds the tracks couldn’t stop talking about how photogrammetry has made it easier for them to re-create real locations in a digital setting. It’s also been used to digitally dissect mummies, recreate the HoloChess scene from Star Wars, and more.
As for this video from Oddviz, it’s an impressive way to get a handle on just how much is going on in a particular building. It might just be a visualization for now, but it’s not hard to see how this could be used by hotels — or customers — in the not-so-distant future. For me, I always find it a bit unsettling to think about all the other lives playing out around me when I’m in a hotel, or even most nights in my apartment building. Special thanks to Oddviz for tearing down a metaphorical wall that has been blocking that thought from my mind.