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I have a gigantic PNG image representing a satellite or airplane photo taken in 1995 of the neighbourhood where I grew up and its surroundings.

It has been destroyed (changed) in numerous ways since then, so I cannot use any of the current satellite photos, maps or street view photos.

Is there some software which I can feed this image and which will then spit out a 3D representation where it has correctly determined the streets, houses, perhaps even trees and rocks, and created rough 3D representations of these? I don't expect it to be photo-realistic/perfect. I'd be fine with it looking like a 1980s 3D environment with flat colours.

All I want is to be able to walk around in it, and perhaps use it as a foundation which I can then adjust/correct in Blender. Making it from scratch in Blender I consider impossible with my current and even future skills.

Is there such a thing?

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  • Welcome Whitler! Interesting question! Upvoted! Do you have an OS or cost preference (or perhaps gratis)? If so, it will be helpful to add that information to your question. Again, welcome to our community! Jan 3, 2022 at 23:01
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    For building 3D objects you usually require at least two images with slightly different view point. Otherwise you would require an AI that can detect known objects based on a single 2D image which requires a lot of guessing as you can never see all sides e.g. of a house on one image. Check for example Google Earth program with enabled 3D buildings, they have used multiple satellite images to generate those 3D structures and a lot of effort and often it still looks creepy.
    – Robert
    Jan 4, 2022 at 11:19
  • Perhaps check AI community site HuggingFace, Models, Computer Vision, "depth estimation" category/filter setting. Maybe someone there has published something in this regard. And provided models, executable code, prototypes.
    – knb
    Jan 30, 2023 at 9:37

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As Robert indicated, it is technically near to impossible to simply automatically reproduce a landscape based on just one image by now (at least without a really good AI - and AI in this field is really still in the fledgling stage). Without knowing the quality, size and perspective of your image, it is really hard to tell if there is any software.

I don't know any software which do this automatically, but in Blender it isn't that hard to do, if you use kitbashing. You don't have to model everything by your own. Just focus on the terrain (without plants etc.), then look for some online resources for models (trees, bushes, rocks, street signs etc. even houses...) - you'll be able to find plenty of them. Import them into your scene and place them according to your reference image. Streets are also relatively simple to model, so all in all, you should be capable of learning everything you'll need in a recent amount of time - at least for a simple model

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