SoUrce Form

Source Form is a standalone device capable of collecting crowdsourced images of a user defined object, stitching together available crowd sourced visual data through photogrammetry and 3D printing a physical form. This is a porthole through which the immense breadth and growth of the collective internet image database will be translated to its own contributors; the public. 




As people continue to take pictures and upload them to social media, blogs and photo sharing sites, the database of images grows in quantity and quality.  Because Source Form gathers a new dataset with each print, the resulting forms will always be evolving.  SourceForm demonstrates that an increase in readily available image data closes the gap between physical and digital perceptions of 3-Dimensional form through time.


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Image Collection and Stitching

The users will provide inputs regarding a specific object he/she would like to construct. We have developed software that automatically crawls the text-based image retrieval results. The initially filtered images are then used for reverse image search (content-based image retrieval) to obtain more and relevant images capturing the same object on the Internet. Once Images are collected the feature-based correspondence matching step involves extracting local image patches from images and matching them across the image collection. By establishing the correspondences among images, we are able to reliably remove images that do not contain the target object. 

3D model reconstruction:

Given the feature correspondences, we apply structure from motion and multi-view stereo techniques for jointly estimating the camera poses and the 3D structure of the points. We then construct a 3D mesh model based on the extracted 3D point cloud. The 3D mesh models are then refined and processed for the 3D printing.

This cross disciplinary collaborative project is sponsored by Virginia Tech's Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology.


Principal Investigators


Sam Blanchard

School of Visual Arts

Virginia Tech


Jia-Bin Huang

Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Virginia Tech


Christopher Williams

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Virginia Tech