I have this pickup truck that I love dearly. I often change the aerodynamic configuration of the truck when I use my camper shell, or roof top tent, etc.

Is there a reasonably easy way to create a mesh model of my truck from images so that I can use ANSYS to model the aerodynamic effects?


  • $\begingroup$ BTW, can you buy a plastic scale model of this truck? If so, large fun can be had with it in a home-made wind tunnel... ;-) $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Jan 28 '18 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ You could start with three or four blocks - frontal area is the most important for a first approximation ie with shell, with tent etc, then start to see the effects of changing the rear profile - sloping back, upright back etc You will probably find adding or removing small things like wing mirrors don't have much effect overall... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Jan 28 '18 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ @nielsnielsen true, but there are scaling issues. I know that for boat hulls in water, anything less than about 1/3 scale gives invalid data. Not certain about scaling ratios allowed for air flow. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 29 '18 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ aerodynamic scaling works well at ratios less than 1/3, in fact the earliest transonic wind tunnels tested models that were 1/100th scale. and they are fun to fool around with. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Jan 29 '18 at 18:03

What you seek is called 3D photogrammetry and is a relatively exciting segment of 3D modeling. You can use those terms to search with your favorite search engine and be overwhelmed with options. I found a link to a summary performed a bit more than a year ago, which might be more useful to you.


The author of the summary took photos of a couple different models to present reasonable challenges to the software available and posted his results.

3d model

The image above came from the linked site. You'd be learning to use image processing software to clean up the results in order to accomplish your goal, but it's time well spent, considering the image file you'd have in return.

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