Photogrammetry software provider Capturing Reality announced a new educational license.
Capturing Reality is the company, but RealityCapture is their software tool. It’s a highly-regarded photogrammetry toolset that provides outstanding scan results in very rapid time. A few months ago Capturing Reality was acquired by Epic Games.
Photogrammetry is an increasingly popular method of 3D scanning in which still images of a subject taken from a variety of angles are processed by the software to identify the precise location of all points within a 3D scene.
The RealityCapture software is used by many in the 3D print community to develop accurate 3D models as an alternative to using dedicated 3D scanning hardware: photogrammetry requires only images that can be captured by almost any camera.
Here’s a video example of how it can be used:
Unlike most other photogrammetry products, RealityCapture is priced in an unusual manner. Currently they use a credit system, but as late as last fall they offered monthly subscription fees that, frankly, seemed a little steep at €249 (US$293) per month — and that was for the basic version. The more advanced version capable of handling larger amounts of data was priced at €750 (US$884) per month. While they did offer a credit system back then, it seemed still to expensive for my meagre budget.
These days they seem to be fully into the credit system. You can buy 3500 credits for US$10, 8000 credits for US$20 or a whopping US$3,750 for a one-time, unlimited license. To put that in perspective, Agisoft’s Metashape license is a one-time fee of US$179 for the basic license and US$3499 for their “Professional Edition”.
If you’re a bit confused about the credits, don’t be: they map to certain values of scan points, and you consume them as you scan (the credits don’t expire). Your consumption of credits depends on several factors:
- The size of the images
- The number of images
- The number of scan points requested
- The frequency of scan jobs
As you can tell, pricing of scanning software in this way is complex. Regardless, it’s also expensive, particularly for educational institutions with budget constraints. Those institutions performing photogrammetry might have acquired alternate tools because of this.
However, Capturing Reality now apparently offers “academic pricing”. This pricing level requires agreement to certain terms, including:
- The software is used solely for educational / teaching purposes
- 3D models produced must be marked with “created using RealityCapture software by Capturing Reality”
- Capturing Reality logo display on educational institution’s website
- Use of institution’s logos on reseller websites
- Sharing of data captured, research produced with Capturing Reality
Those are pretty stiff terms, but in exchange, Capturing Reality will provide a “complementary RealityCapture license”. It appears that the software would be available at no charge under this program.
That’s good news for educational institutions, who may now participate with this excellent software tool. It is also good news for Capturing Reality, because they might also “capture” some students who become familiar with the tool and wish to continue using it after they enter the job market.
If you’re an educational institution looking for powerful photogrammetry software, you may wish to review this program.