So, currently I'm doing photogrammetry, a process of using a series of photos to interpolate between pixel patterns, thereby generating 3d data.
I started by taking some pics of rocks and stuff up in Colorado, not sure really whether I was doing it right or not, but the principle seemed simple enough so I snapped away:
I then took the images into Photoshop and balanced shadow and highlight values (evened them out):
After all that was done (time consuming), I took the photos into a program that uses magic (point cloud data), and generated high resolution geometry. After seeing the result I was pretty pleased that I had done it right! After that, I hauled the geometry into Maya:
Now the tedious task of modeling low poly versions begins. There are other ways of doing this, but the results can be kind of sloppy, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself:
When it looks about right, UV map that sucker and transfer maps (diffuse and normal), check this baby out:
From almost 132 thousand polygons, down to just over 3 hundred. Not bad says I.