3D Model

FPV Camera introduces a complete new dimension of shooting aerial photos. It turns your DJI drone to aerial 3D scanner to scan basically anything from the sky by shooting a series of photos with specified pattern. You may then upload the photos to Aerial3D360.com cloud services by following 3D Model Generation (or use other photogrammetry software) to build amazing 3D models. You can also view and share the models on Facebook or other social networks, or even download the model file for 3D printing.


Guidelines & Tips

3D model requires to shoot a series of photos at multiple altitude and angle by flying around an object. Getting good result requires good photos. Remember, these photos are "seen" by computer instead of human being. You don't need professional shooting skills and tactics, though it requires some basic shooting knowledge. There are a few guidelines & tips below for consideration. 

  • Shoot the object as CLOSE as possible for clarity and maximizing effective photo resolution. The object should occupy photo area as much as possible to squeeze maximum number of valid pixels. 
  • Each photo should cover the object as much as possible (>80% of the object) to ensure proper overlapping. It doesn't need to cover the entire object on each photo.
  • Photos need to be in focus and with a proper exposure. Adjusting EV is a simple way to get proper exposure. Over/under exposure photos are common issues, which might ruin the model quality. There are a few GOOD and BAD sample photos shown below.
  • Avoid shooting into sun in early morning or late afternoon. Shooting around noon on a cloudy day (with diffuse lighting) usually gets good result.
  • Avoid reflective, shiny, transparent (glass) or thin objects.
  • Check out 3D Photogrammetry Limitations and some sample photos shot in 3D Model Tutorial - Statue and 3D Model Tutorial - Building.
  • If you need further details of particular location/view, then fly closer manually to shoot additional photos. If you can walk closer to the object, you may even carry your aircraft as a hand-held camera to shoot additional close-up photos.


3D Model project requires basic planning in terms of number of levels, as well as radius, altitude and tilt angle of each level. The step-by-step guidance below will walk you through the planning process.


Tap a planned home point on the map for preliminary calculation and estimation. You may tap any location on the map for moving the home point. When you have connected to aircraft and located an actual home point, the home point will be updated on the map accordingly. Tap > button to proceed next step upon Setup completion. 

• Finish - Define Finish action upon completion of the mission. 

  • RTH (default): Aircraft RTH (Return-To-Home) and land automatically after completion of mission. If you want to cancel RTH, press-and-hold RTH button a few seconds or flip mode switch on RC.
  • Hover: Hover upon mission completed. You will be prompted to RTH or hovering (Cancel) to let pilot take over control.

• Entry: Entry point of starting 3D Model project mission. 

  • North
  • South
  • West
  • East
  • Nearest (default)

• Level: You can define 1, 2 (default) or 3 levels for shooting a 3D model. Each level represents a full revolution of orbit flight. In general, you need to set at least 1 level higher than and cover the entire object. You may consider the followings.

  • Set 1 level for object height lower than 5m (17ft), such as a single-story house. You may consider to shoot at 25°-40° with 60-100 photos.

  • Set 2 levels for object height between 5m (17ft) to 50m (164ft), such as a multi-story building. You may consider to shoot 2 levels to cover both low oblique (20°-30°) and high oblique (45°-60°) views with 60-80 photos per level. Low oblique is mainly used to cover side view and high oblique is used to cover top view of the object.

  • Set 3 levels for tall narrow object higher than 50m (164ft), such as a tall building or statue. You may consider to shoot 3 levels (or more) to cover various height and angle of the object with 60-80 photos per level. If you need more than 3 levels, simply create another 3D Model project (Save as another file name) to extend extra levels.



Tap a target on the map and the target should be at the center of 3D model. You may use Normal map view to identify the center, which is easier than Satellite view due to satellite view shifting tall object. It will then show 1-3 levels (circles) on the map based on Setup tab with different colors - Level 1 (red), Level 2 (yellow), Level 3 (green). You may tap-and-hold the target (until the map shift-up a bit) then drag it on the map to required location. When you move the target, the corresponding levels are moved accordingly.

FOV indicator (a blue semi-transparent triangle) shows approximately horizontal FOV angle will be covered shooting from aircraft to target, which is enabled automatically with both Setup and Model tabs. It helps you to set proper radius covering the object. If you set Entry point to Nearest in the Setup tab, you may tap the home point (with Setup tab active) along the orbit to let FOV indicator check whether FOV covering the object. If you enable Show Elevation in Settings menu, home point also shows the elevation to help you identifying AGL along the orbit.

Level Panel

Each level consists of independent set of parameters to control the aircraft with 2 labels showing on the map. The above sample orbit (red circle) label is as L1, A105, M120 (whereas L1=Level 1, A105=Aircraft height 105m, M120=Medium speed with 120 photos) and sample radius (red radius) label is as R50, T80, 27° (whereas R50=Radius 50m, T80=Target height 80m, 27°=camera tilting angle 27°).

• < and > buttons: Navigate to previous/next level. Both aircraft and FOV indicator will be updated upon level change.

• Level X/Y: X is the current level, Y is total number of levels.

• Speed: It's based on Min/Rev or Sec/Rev as shown below. The slower the speed, the more clarity photos you will get as the aircraft is shooting continuously during non-stop flight. The aircraft ground speed is based on radius of orbit as km/h or mph. You are recommended to set the speed below 8 km/h (5 mph). 

  • Slow: 6 Min/Rev (360 Sec/Rev)
  • Medium: 4 Min/Rev (240 Sec/Rev)
  • Fast: 3 Min/Rev (180 Sec/Rev)
  • V.Fast: 2 Min/Rev (120 Sec/Rev)

• Photo: You can set the maximum number of photos shot per level from 180 photos @2° interval to 24 photos @15° interval, depending on the Speed as shown below. Only JPG format files are shot in 3D Model mission. In general, you would get 2%-5% less photos than the theoretical maximum number of photos. For example, when you set 120-3°, you would get approximately 114-118 photos.

  • Slow: 180-2°, 120-3°, 72-5°, 51-7°, 36-10°
  • Medium: 120-3°, 80-4.5°, 48-7.5°, 34-11°, 24-15°
  • Fast: 90-4°, 60-6°, 36-10°, 25-14°
  • V.Fast: 60-6°, 40-9°, 24-15°

You are recommended to use 60-80 photos per level for decent result. However, you can always shoot more than required photos then select only those you want to process 3D model. This approach allows you to add/change photos for your 3D model whenever necessary without re-flying mission.

• Radius: Distance between aircraft and target. Each photo should cover the object as much as possible (minimum 80% of the object) and shoot the object as close as possible for clarity. FOV indicator on the map helps to estimate reasonable radius horizontally. 

• Target Height: Target height can be set approximately half height of the object. Sometime you may need to set target height higher or even negative value for adjust the required tilt angle.

• Aircraft Height: Orbit height for shooting photos of each level. This is important to form proper shooting angle to the object in conjunction with target height.

• Angle: Display only camera tilt angle based on target height and aircraft height of each level.  


  • Max. Dis: The farthest distance from home point
  • Travel: Approximately total travel distance 
  • Time: Estimated flight time of the whole mission 
  • Battery: Estimated battery % required of the whole mission 
  • Photo: Maximum total photos will be shot
  • Level: Total levels in the mission


Please refer to Fly for additional details.

• Start - Take off aircraft and fly to target within 500m (1,640ft). Prepare a checklist to upload and start a mission. It will change from F-GPS to F-POI (P3/I1) or GPS to POI (P4) mode upon starting a mission. You may still control the aircraft with joysticks if necessary.

  • Yaw stick to rotate aircraft left/right
  • Throttle stick to increase/decrease aircraft altitude
  • Roll stick to increase/decrease revolution speed
  • Pitch stick to increase/decrease radius

• Stop - Abort the mission and stop shooting photos, prompt "Mission Stopped" message. Aircraft is hovering to let pilot take over control.

• Resume - Resume a paused mission and prompt "Mission Resumed" message.

• Pause - Pause a mission and prompt "Mission Paused" message.

• Auto-Tilt - Control gimbal tilting automatically to aim specified target (based on target height) in real-time. This powerful feature keeps your targets right at the center of each photo.

• Auto-Tilt Offset - Aircraft height (altimeter) may easily vary 15-20m (50-66ft) off the actual height after 10-15 minutes of flight, or users might misjudge target height. Auto-Tilt Offset allows you to adjust camera tilting in real-time of maximum +/-10° to compensate aforementioned discrepancy. 

• Level - Entry level (default to Level 1) of flying 3D Model mission. When you finish a level, aircraft will hover and prompt Next Level (more than 1 level), Cancel (abort mission) or RTH (Return-To-Home). If you have multi-level mission, you might not have sufficient battery to complete all levels per single battery. You may then set next entry level to continue the multi-level mission with second/third battery.

• Set Target - Set the target to current aircraft coordinate within 500m (1,640ft) from the original target. Occasionally, you are unable to pin the exact target location on Google map, such as a new building or a car. You may want to put or fly the aircraft right above such location, then tap "Set Target" to set the target right at the current aircraft GPS coordinate. 

Important Notes:

  • You need to ensure proper RC signal connection at the "entry point" of each level in order to start/stop and configure each level of mission properly.
  • Once a level started, aircraft might fly behind the object without VLOS. RC signal is blocked by the object and might be lost though the mission will continue (flying and shooting). RC signal should be reconnected upon regaining VLOS.
  • If aircraft doesn't stop/hover automatically after completion of each level, you may tap Stop button to abort the mission and start next level manually.

Additional Information

After shooting 3D Model project, you may upload the photos to optimized Aerial3D360.com cloud service for building 3D models. Read the following links for further information and procedures.

3D Model Planning (Quick Tutorial)