Keyboard Photogrammetry

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snacksthecat
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31 Dec 2019, 21:32

Slightly upgraded setup. Let's get ready to spend the day taking pictures of something small that might not even scan!

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snacksthecat
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01 Jan 2020, 21:42

The small object I referred to above was a Micro Switch SD keyswitch. Compared to the XMIT keycap (which is roughly the same size), this one didn't present nearly as many problems scanning. That being said, I was primed with the knowledge I've gained with all the failed attempts to scan a keycap, so going into this I did things in very specific ways.

https://skfb.ly/6PFIV
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A few things off the top of my head that I did thoughtfully:
  • Pushed the exposure pretty high -- otherwise no features (e.g. scratches) show up in the black plastic
  • Left the camera focus the exact same for all 322 photos
  • Reshot a set of photos that didn't align well
  • Set a custom white balance and used it for all sets
  • Shot from the same angle (~45°) with the switch positioned in 5 different ways, masked out background to recreate whole object
The main reason why this was so much easier to scan than the keycaps is it has so many more features in any given view. There are changes in colors, textures, depths -- whereas the keycap was smooth and uniform across most of its surface. I might give that one last try with a lot of light and slightly over expose it to bring out the little micro scratches on the surface. Maybe trick the software into understanding what we're feeding it.

Oh and the "MICRO SWITCH" background is a photo I took as well. I have a few Micro Switch boxes from keypads I bought a while ago. They have this really cool printing on them. Whenever I send someone something small, I like to use these nifty boxes.

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Polecat

01 Jan 2020, 21:54

Nice, I'm enjoying your work as always Snacks!

I have a few of those old boxes myself, probably dating back to the '60s. But mine have white printing on a dark blue background. "Micro Switch a Honeywell Division" or just "Micro Switch".

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SneakyRobb
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02 Jan 2020, 20:16

This is really cool and impressive. I feel like your photographs are almost all top-banner quality. Very aesthetic

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snacksthecat
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03 Feb 2020, 02:47

SneakyRobb wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:16
This is really cool and impressive. I feel like your photographs are almost all top-banner quality. Very aesthetic
Thanks a lot! I really appreciate it :)

I've been absent for a few weeks and not doing too much keyboard or photo (or combination of the two) stuff during that time. I just got two cats and they've been keeping me occupied in my downtime. The littlest one is having a rough time adjusting :cry:

I have been able to fit in just a couple of scans, though. This one I thought turned out fantastic. It goes to show that with photogrammetry you've got to have the right method for the object you're scanning. In my case, this smaller, more geometrically-rich keypad was the perfect candidate. I'm really pleased at how the "buried" details, such as the switch springs, were nicely captured. In the past on similar arrangements I've not had as good of luck with those kinds of details coming out in the finished model.

Here's the link, let me know what you think :)

https://skfb.ly/6QpZv
Image

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Nuum

03 Feb 2020, 10:06

Oh, I have a keypad very similar to this, only with numeric keycaps. Do you have any idea where this keypad is from?

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SneakyRobb
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04 Feb 2020, 01:47

snacksthecat wrote:
03 Feb 2020, 02:47
SneakyRobb wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:16
This is really cool and impressive. I feel like your photographs are almost all top-banner quality. Very aesthetic
Thanks a lot! I really appreciate it :)

I've been absent for a few weeks and not doing too much keyboard or photo (or combination of the two) stuff during that time. I just got two cats and they've been keeping me occupied in my downtime. The littlest one is having a rough time adjusting :cry:

I have been able to fit in just a couple of scans, though. This one I thought turned out fantastic. It goes to show that with photogrammetry you've got to have the right method for the object you're scanning. In my case, this smaller, more geometrically-rich keypad was the perfect candidate. I'm really pleased at how the "buried" details, such as the switch springs, were nicely captured. In the past on similar arrangements I've not had as good of luck with those kinds of details coming out in the finished model.

Here's the link, let me know what you think :)

https://skfb.ly/6QpZv
Hi, I hope your cats are okay. One time I tried to change one of my cats food to a healthier option and she decided to stop eating all together in protest and almost died. She was perfectly healthy otherwise. Had to inject saline into her for vitality. She is fine now. What are cats and why do they do their things?

It would be neat to see these 3d photos on the wiki if that were possible. Really gives the keyboards a real feel. I am also impressed by the interior resolution of the images. When I tried to do this years ago I had trouble with basic shapes, so your technique is great.

As well I had the thought, not for sale or anything. But one could 3d print some of your keyboard models and paint them for minatures. I think that could be a cool sort of trinket to make.

Imagine a little scale F122 on your F122. It could be a cool desktop little model.

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snacksthecat
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05 Feb 2020, 02:23

SneakyRobb wrote:
04 Feb 2020, 01:47
It would be neat to see these 3d photos on the wiki if that were possible.
That's a really great idea. I'm definitely going to start adding links to these models in the wiki pages. If nothing else it gives me a bit of a roadmap. I've mainly been trying to do keyboards that I think are visually "cool" looking, so not necessarily the most common birds.

And the F122 miniature would be awesome! The little crack in the corner would be adorable rather than tragic.

The next board I have is a TI 911 that I did a few weeks back. I would say it turned out almost perfect, except the two front-bottom corners have big holes. This means that those parts weren't visible in any of the pictures! (I reviewed them all and this is indeed the case)

Other than that, though, it turned out really clean.

https://skfb.ly/6QqV7
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ZedTheMan

05 Feb 2020, 03:36

This has become one of my favorite threads on DT. I would love if these models would go on the wiki.

That TI 911 is looking SHARP

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zrrion

05 Feb 2020, 06:17

throwing my support for putting this stuff on the wiki. It would be a very valuable resource IMO

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dcopellino

05 Feb 2020, 15:34

Great job snacks, I am enjoying too your photogrammetry experiments, even if only by the means of my desktop pc. As you know sketchfab doesn't work very well on mobiles. Chrome on Android 9 does render models with light off and what you get is only a pitch black 3d model. What a pity.
Screenshot_20200203_151924_com.android.chrome.jpg
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Are you scheduling a step by step tutorial for photogrammetry beginners? I'd like to be into all this!

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snacksthecat
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08 Feb 2020, 22:45

dcopellino wrote:
05 Feb 2020, 15:34
Great job snacks, I am enjoying too your photogrammetry experiments, even if only by the means of my desktop pc. As you know sketchfab doesn't work very well on mobiles. Chrome on Android 9 does render models with light off and what you get is only a pitch black 3d model. What a pity.
Ooof, that really is a shame that it doesn't come up properly on (at least some) mobile devices. I wonder if it's something I'm doing wrong in the sketchfab settings when I upload the model. In any case, thanks for letting me know!
dcopellino wrote:
05 Feb 2020, 15:34
Are you scheduling a step by step tutorial for photogrammetry beginners? I'd like to be into all this!
That's a great idea. I really enjoy doing those kinds of write-ups. Sometimes just getting things down on paper helps solidify them in my head. I'm glad to hear you're interested. I've got absolutely nothing going on this weekend so look for something in the next day or so :)

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dcopellino

09 Feb 2020, 00:14

I wonder if it's something I'm doing wrong in the sketchfab settings when I upload the model
I didn't imagine there could be some wrong settings misplaced during the upload step, but giving a look to this other model, that strangely works flawlessly, some doubts are arising...
Screenshot_20200209_000646_com.android.chrome.jpg
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snacksthecat
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09 Feb 2020, 04:39

dcopellino wrote:
09 Feb 2020, 00:14
I wonder if it's something I'm doing wrong in the sketchfab settings when I upload the model
I didn't imagine there could be some wrong settings misplaced during the upload step, but giving a look to this other model, that strangely works flawlessly, some doubts are arising...
Interesting, thanks for the test.

Also, I started on that guide. I'm planning to do it in two parts, so just part one is done right now:

viewtopic.php?p=459569#p459569

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dcopellino

09 Feb 2020, 17:05

Thks so much to you snacksthecat for your wonderful commitment with this tutorial. I couldn't have imagined such a precision and details.
Great
BUMP.

p.s. so, now what I need is just the right torrent...ehm rig, I meant. :oops:

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snacksthecat
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16 Feb 2020, 20:53

The next board I scanned is a translucent Filco keyboard. I thought it was going to give me all sorts of problems, with things like photo alignment and getting the texture right. But it was actually very easy and fun to scan. All of the images aligned without problems and the board is opaque enough that the program could pick up the texture just fine. I'd say the model looks almost picture perfect to the actual object. There are just a few spots around the edges that could benefit from some more photos. I probably should have done another set of ~100 photos in a good pose (current model was made using 4 poses and ~400 photos) to tighten everything up.

Here's a link to the finished model:

https://skfb.ly/6QyAn
Image

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snacksthecat
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22 Feb 2020, 00:23

I mentioned in the tutorial thread that I was going to try out some different software called Image. I don't really know much about this program, but based on the pricing tiers and the features I've seen so far, it looks like a direct competitor to Metashape.

I had already taken these photos with plans to run them through RealityCapture. It's a Xerox 820 16/8 keyboard, so not the most visually interesting board to scan. So I won't hold that against this scan too much. But still the end result has me a bit dissapointed. My main gripes are:
  1. It's specked with small holes. The program has a hole filling tool but I did not try to use it out.
  2. The mesh surface is very bumpy. Again, the program has a few smoothing tools but I don't yet know enough about the settings to use them properly.
One thing I really did like about this software is it has a little built in companion program called Masquerade. It allows you to mask a bunch of images in an efficient way so it doesn't take hours and hours to do. It has a special algorithm for turntable workflows where you just mask a single image, then tell the program to figure out the masks for the other images. Since the images progress in a predictable way, the computer usually does a pretty spot-on job of determining which parts need to be masked out.

I was also really impressed with the image alignment. I ran it first on the fastest setting, which downsizes the images used in order to speed up the process. Everything aligned perfectly on the first shot. Strangely enough when I bumped up the alignment settings for the final model, alignment came out crazy. So I'm not exactly sure what to make of this. I'll need to do more scans to find out what the appropriate parameters are (I just ran everything with presets this time).

So here's the finished model:

https://skfb.ly/6QDpR
Image

Oh I've also started to put everything on a wiki page: wiki/3D_Models

I still have a couple more to add. But once I've got a bit of an inventory going, I'll add links to the models on the individual keyboard wiki pages.

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snacksthecat
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22 Feb 2020, 19:27

I took another shot at doing a macro set of a single switch, this time the coveted neon green Alps switch. This one I ran through all three programs and found that 3D Zephyr this time did the best job of recreating it with the fewest defects.

There are some areas, particularly around the slider, where things go a bit south. But all and all I'm happy with it. Here's the finished scan on sketchfab:

https://skfb.ly/6QDCW
Image

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snacksthecat
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25 Feb 2020, 02:49

This latest scan turned out just about as good as I could hope for. And that's not even considering the fact that the keyboard had many difficult features about it that would make for a challenging subject.

I was going through my "junk" box of keyboards and found this pretty in tact Micro Switch SW keyboard. Younger me was a fool to classify this guy as junk! Plus it has the added benefit of making for an interesting scan, since it looks so cool.

I did make one glaring error; the spacebar tends to wiggle, so I unfortunately captured my pictures when the key was in slightly different positions. So there is some ghosting and texture goobering happening in that area.

https://skfb.ly/6QFnQ
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snacksthecat
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26 Feb 2020, 19:05

Another day another scan. This one turned out pretty good. Some holes in a few of the stackpole sliders, but they blend in well with the already broken ones. This was again from my "junk" box. I find that these beat up boards make for really interesting subjects.

https://skfb.ly/6QGJ8
Image

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snacksthecat
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01 Mar 2020, 04:34

I was working on adding some of this stuff to the wiki again today. I've got all the models linked out from a page called 3D Models. Next I've started linking out to the keyboard pages in the wiki. Doing this, I found a bunch of keyboards I was surprised didn't have any documentation yet. Not sure if anyone would like to help add some detail to any of the pages but I've created stubs for:

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snacksthecat
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02 Mar 2020, 01:12

One thing I've been playing around with in my head is how to improve surface reconstruction accuracy on shiny surfaces. So many times I have a scan where it looks mostly fantastic, but the shiny keycaps are all jumbled and full of holes. I'll put below here my reddit post with an idea of how to possibly combat that.

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Hi guys, I'm coming from the vintage keyboard hobby, so pretty much all of my scans so far have been of keyboards. Keyboards pose a number of challenges for photogrammetry but the one I'd like to focus on is accurately capturing shiny, featureless surfaces.

Key caps are very shiny and smooth so often times they come out with random craters all over the place. This can be combated by putting a little bit of matte finish water-based paint on the shiny surfaces. That's great, but obviously it would show through in your final textures.

My question is: can I take two sets of photos (1) with paint (2) without paint. Use set #1 for alignment and mesh generation. Then somehow swoop in and inject set #2 for texture generation?

Maybe this technique already exists, I'm just not sure what to search for.

Thanks!
https://www.reddit.com/r/photogrammetry ... eneration/

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snacksthecat
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02 Mar 2020, 01:25

Next is an odd specimen if I've ever seen one.

I don't know anything about this keyboard other than it's Japanese and Cherry M7. If anyone has some info or a name, please shout it out. Looking at the back, you can see every switch has a diode, so I'm guessing it's full NKRO.

This scan I did first in 3D Zephyr and it looked like utter trash. I reran it through RealityCapture and am much happier with the result. This kind of guess work really drives me nuts!

https://skfb.ly/6QJIn
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snacksthecat
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03 Mar 2020, 23:47

In the vein of what I was talking about 2 posts up (re: reflective surfaces), I ordered some CAD scanning spray in hopes that it can help cut down on glare and maybe bring out some of the micro scratches in the surface of the plastic so that some features get detected.

I bought the spray from this seller on Ebay.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAD-CAM-Scanni ... 2641245394
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It's water soluble so hopefully will be plastic safe and not too hard to clean off. Though I've heard warnings about similar products to be careful because maybe the aerosol accelerants used in these types of spays aren't necessarily plastic safe. But I think that's a small chance (also YOLO).

Not sure what to scan next. I might retry the red XMIT keycap, but I've tried it (no joke) >10 times with nothing but garbage results so I'm a *little* bit discouraged. I can share my "best" scan of the cap but it's frankly embarassing.

Image

Or I might just hang up the towel for a while, and try to improve on my own without dumping all my mistakes on here. I have fun doing this stuff and sharing the process/results. But the little bit of feedback I'm getting is mostly along the lines of "what is the point of this?" or "the scans don't turn out very good". The whole thing has just become a fun hobby for me and I enjoy learning about this technology. But I don't want to put these things out there if it's useless or takes away from existing media (i.e. photos, videos, manuals, etc.)

I don't know, we'll see. Maybe if I can conquer the damn XMIT cap (my personal Mt. Everest) I'll be re-inflated with confidence that this isn't just all a waste of time.

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SneakyRobb
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04 Mar 2020, 00:48

snacksthecat wrote:
03 Mar 2020, 23:47
Or I might just hang up the towel for a while, and try to improve on my own without dumping all my mistakes on here. I have fun doing this stuff and sharing the process/results. But the little bit of feedback I'm getting is mostly along the lines of "what is the point of this?" or "the scans don't turn out very good". The whole thing has just become a fun hobby for me and I enjoy learning about this technology. But I don't want to put these things out there if it's useless or takes away from existing media (i.e. photos, videos, manuals, etc.)

I don't know, we'll see. Maybe if I can conquer the damn XMIT cap (my personal Mt. Everest) I'll be re-inflated with confidence that this isn't just all a waste of time.
Hi I hope you don't stop posting. I have seen a definite improvement in the quality of models, your early ones are good. The latest ones are even better. I think this is both cool and could have use in terms of replacement parts as well as documentary purposes.

Randomly I was at the dentist recently and they did this to my teeth.

I have been unable to find a Model F capacitive flipper and have been planning to use your tutorial to make a model of that. So I can 3d print capacitive ones for fun.

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SneakyRobb
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04 Mar 2020, 00:53

As for a use of the models you are making I've also been investigating printing them and processing them into models for fun purposes.

I think it would be really fun to have a collection of keyboard models! (The first one came out mirrored..)
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snacksthecat
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06 Mar 2020, 06:54

SneakyRobb wrote:
04 Mar 2020, 00:48
Randomly I was at the dentist recently and they did this to my teeth.
So interesting that you mention that because the CAD spray I bought is from some dental supplier (but not to be used in peoples mouths -- so I'm not really sure what its intended use is lol).

I'm glad you like this stuff. If you need help with the flipper, let me know. It can be really tricky to scan small objects.

Speaking of which, I scanned one of those weird Alps switches I bought off ebay last year. Up until now, I haven't really been doing any post processing. I've tried to fix things here and there in Meshmixer, but you can only do so much with that program and I'm not very good at it.

Lately I've heard a few people mention the program Zbrush in the context of photogrammetry. You can use it to sculp / fix up a model. You can also use it to optimize and retopologize a mesh. The mesh that is produced in most of these photogrammetry programs is really messy (you've probably noticed a lot of bumpiness in my models) so any improvement on that front is welcome.

So I took the time this evening to give myself a crash course in Zbrush. This program is suuuuper powerful. I'm only scratching the surface as to what can be done and it's amazing how much of a difference this made in the final product. It's also a lot of fun to "digitally sculpt" something like a real piece of clay.

https://skfb.ly/6QNCY
Image

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snacksthecat
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09 Mar 2020, 04:22

I feel like I'm finally starting to get the hang of this. I recently scanned this IBM 5140 keyboard which turned out great. One interesting thing in this scan is seeing how the clear plastic sheet on the back translated.

Note: this one looks a little bumpy because I have the sketchfab model set to "lit". Usually my models are way too bumpy to have any lighting.

https://skfb.ly/6QP9S
Image

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Icarium

09 Mar 2020, 09:57

I don't know what this might be good for but I think it's awesome! :)

Actually - scratch that - at the very least it would be great for turning hand-molded wrist-rests into 3D printable parts!

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SneakyRobb
THINK

12 Mar 2020, 14:22

Zbrush looks interesting. From my attempts there sometimes are little "hanger" pieces that are hard to remove. So that is cool and looks like it could help.

Also I like your scans of switches. I've been trying to figure out realitycapture for a few days. Not sure what I'm doing wrong but hopefully I can figure it out in the next 2 days, otherwise Ill post in the tutorial thread my issues.

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