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Convert a picture of a structure into plans for its surfaces? Answered

I saw a program to do this, but when I tried to purchase it, it had been acquired by another company and taken off market.

Essentially, a photo showing two sides of a structure allowed calculations to be made, and then represented as two "flats".

I think Railroad Model Craftsman (magazine) laid out a manual approach to this.

Electronically, you would be able to reshape the surfaces as well; e.g. bricks.


I located the manual approach article:

Plans from pictures - creating working drawings from photos

in the May 1996 Railroad Model Craftsman, p. 60.

At that time it would have been a very basic approach, I am certain there is a way of doing what you want using modern programs.
Are you trying to build you own model and use realistic textures?
Adjusting perspective views to align and so on?
Or just just converting an image to something you can print out and use as a texture?

For making a 3D model there is plenty of software at hand, for converting an image to a prited texture where you can change the appearance is a bit harder.

Maybe the simple home design programs would be an alternative as some offer similar features, were you take pics of your walls and furniture and they are used as textures for the objects.

I can not access the article you mention, so I still have troubles understanding what your exact goal is.

Boy, this is hard, which probably means it's worthwhile. Thank you all for persevering with me.

Example: I find a fascinating old picture of a building, an orthogonal view of it, portraying two sides. I know, or can estimate ONE VERTICAL MEASUREMENT, and then can deduce all the others.

I envision a program that 1) draws an outline starting at a vertice at the front corner of the picture and extends this into two parallelograms, each outlning one of the two surfaces. Then, 2) rotate each of these parallelograms into rectangles of appropriate dimensions. Then, 3) scale them as desired.

I experimented a bit with 3 scanners as well as software that creates the 3D image from pictures.

All had one thing in common : to look good you need images from all around.

Sure there are ways to interpolate the missing bits to some extend and you can use the same texture all around, but the result for me was never satisfying.

It might be actually easier to manually create a suitable 3D object and to use the images to create a texture map for it.

I mean, a normal house is not too hard, same for a tower or brick wall, but what you want is beyond any program I tried so far.


Well, that's why I asked, in the first place. 8<)!

I know it can be done, I just don't know how; thus asking for an Instructible.

Todays word boys and girls is "Photogrammetry"

Try this link:


I don't think that's it. I want to take a 2-D picture of a 3-D building and obtain 2-D "blueprints" for each face of the building.

That is basically what every good 3 design program does.

You define an object and give it a texture, the texture can be a picture of an object to get the detail info needed.

Sorry than I must have done something wrong by doing so in the past....

Some examples of good software for the job:




http://www.mapzoneeditor.com/ good for testing the texture if you use their mapping stuff.

Although for most jobs there is always some suitable texture to be found on the net.
There are good libraries for it, like this one:


So, using the right software, it is not too hard to create custom textures from anything - if required.
Most of the time it is easier to select one from a library instead, unless you really want to make it look authentic.

I think you and the author/Steve are talking about two different things.

The author wants to put the photo into a programme, and have the programme spit out a dimensioned model or plan, with textures.

You're talking about creating a model and adding the texture from the photo.

That's right, and like the OP I have seen programs that can do it. Google I think dropped SketchUp BECAUSE they had a tech they acquired that could do what the OP wants.

Ok, my bad :(
Photsculpt is still nice and Sketchup has the option to use images as textures as well.

Would be nice to know the progrom the author found for it (or did not find).