About Canoma



Metastream (2)

Canoma Tutorials
Canoma Book
Canoma & Atmosphere

User Sites

General Interest
Art & Perspective
Virtual Towns & Urban Planning

User Forum
A recent crash wiped out the forum. Sorry.


About Canoma

Canoma is Mac/Win software that allows fast creation of photorealistic 3D models from one or more photographs. The models are geometrically very simple, and their purpose is not to replace any CAD or detailed 3D model, but to augment it, for example with realistic 3D context or to allow very fast 3D prototyping.

It was originally sold by Metacreations, which has since divested all its shrink wrap software business. Canoma was acquired by Adobe, Inc. For inquiries about the future status or availability of Canoma, you may contact Adobe directly.



Click for larger image
"Beached Canoma" - Image by Don Gray

Currently, neither Adobe nor Metacreations are selling Canoma or offering technical support. Hopefully these pages will provide a little background to those interested and some help for previous purchasers of the software. This is an independent effort, not affiliated with either Adobe or Metacreations. I do not have Canoma copies for sale, but you can try finding one at ebay or see the news section below for a reseller who still has copies.

If you own Canoma 1.0, you can get a free patch to upgrade to 1.0.1 (mac/win) - for both Mac and Windows. You can also look at the 1.0.1 Release Notes. If you have any questions, please send email to info@canoma.com





ExportToCanoma 1.0

A new utility from expert user BobMax: have you ever wanted to take an existing 3D model and load it into Canoma so you can apply realistic textures from a photograph ? That is exactly what ExportToCanoma does. Best of all ? BobMax is providing this to you free !

See more about ExportToCanoma

Canoma Forum

A new message board for Canoma is up and running - check it out please. Future news and announcements will appear there rather than here. And of course, YOU can add content to that site. This site will stay around for existing media, tutorials and links.


Canoma still available (well, some copies at least)

I keep getting inquiries about copies of Canoma, demo versions etc. More so recently, I don't know why. In any case, a Spanish reseller still has a bunch of Canoma copies for sale, at a very reduced price. These are English versions, for Mac and PC. Here is the text of an email from Ignasi Riera at 4bytes.com:

Cost is 269 $US dollars plus post&pack (post and pack from spain is expensive a lot of USA clients send us UPS to take the packet from our office).
This is the link to our English shop
VISA and Mastercard is well to pay but we accept wire fund transfer (in the same page at end of the order process). Orders can come from mail or fax to me: ignasi.riera@4bytes.com with name, address, mail, and payment type. Then I contact with the client and ask for Credit card data or other via mail. Our Fax is: +34 93 439 53 02


Adobe Elements

Adobe has recently released Adobe Elements, "Son of Photoshop". A friend of ours has written the software for stitching together images which is now part of Elements. You can create very wide angle synthetic photographs with this technique which can then be fed to Canoma. This will result in faster and more accurate modeling than with seperate images. Click on the thumbnail below to see large scale versions of the images as well as a finished Canoma model of downtown Palo Alto, generated with several stitched images.

Click for large versions

Archeology Lesson

By chance I just noticed that there are still some Canoma pages up at a long forgotten Metacreations server (thank you Google). There you can find a

  • FAQ,
  • a pdf datasheet,
  • a section from the manual that is a Canoma tutorial (which was for use with the free downloadable demo which I cannot find on their site any more)
  • a case study of Canoma at work for a downtown Phoenix, AZ project

Also, some animated gifs that were used in advertising

and an early concept art for the Canoma box (can you guess the codename for Canoma?)

Click for large version

and a couple of screenshots from version 2 - which was work in progress when Metacreations shut down. Connoisseurs will see an important new capability demonstrated in these: Cylinders (there was a lot more of course, but these are two screenshots that survived).

Dutch Canoma modelers

Just heard from a Dutch company - WebTags - that creates 3D models from Aerial Photography using Canoma. Their site is in Dutch, but just follow the picture links from their example page. They also have an interesting idea about combining panorama images and a 3D model (see their Haagse Poort model)

Also redid the canoma.com front page to allow for more regular news updates.

Site updates

I updated many broken links and added new ones to most sections below. Please let me know if something is still wrong or you have a link to useful information that I should add.

Delft at the time of Vermeer - historical reconstructions

Check out historical reconstructions of Delft at the time of Vermeer - a project spearheaded by historian Kees Kaldenbach. See the "Made with Canoma" Quicktime movies and read how they were made.

PS: true photogrammetry geeks and / or Vermeer fans should definetly also check out Philip Steadmans excellent book "Vermeers Camera"







Canoma Quicktime movies & models

Canoma VRML2 models

Adobe Atmosphere

You may also want to check out a new product that Adobe is developing, called Adobe Atmosphere. It is a immersive 3D builder and browser. You can download a free beta of the software. It is possible to import Canoma models (among many others) into Atmosphere. There is a tutorial I wrote as well as a sample world. Atmosphere is similar in its goals (as a online, multiuser 3D immersive browser) to Active Worlds and Blaxxun, both of which also can use Canoma models.
If you have questions about Atmosphere, the user forum may be a good place to get answers. There are also some Atmosphere community sites.

Canoma, Bryce and Poser models in Atmosphere
Using Viewpoint (aka Metastream) models in Atmosphere
Alice in Atmosphere



Here is chapter 3 from the Canoma manual: a tutorial on how to use the software (pdf format)

What is the "stress display" and how can I use it to make better models ?
A little tutorial based on a Magritte modeling challenge.
The signpost tutorial.
Using Canoma for editing billboards.
How to model tight spaces like rooms with Canoma.
Become a showman with Metastream: Surprise!

Frequently Asked Questions (pdf format)

Using Canoma, Bryce and Poser objects in Adobe Atmosphere Worlds and
Viewpoint objects in Atmosphere. Also: sample world and Alice in Atmosphere

3rd party tips:
Rick Schrand has written a book "Canoma Visual Insight"

Steve Shanks has a basic Canoma tutorial.
The Canoma page at the old Metacreations site, incl features/benefits, system requirements etc.

A Canoma training CD, created by Matt Neutra is available: 10 hours of quicktime lessons. The website has previews of each chapter online for your perusal.



User Sites

  • A Dutch company - WebTags - creates 3D models from Aerial Photography using Canoma. Their site is in Dutch, but just follow the picture links from their example page. They also have an interesting idea about combining panorama images and a 3D model (see their Haagse Poort model)
  • Chris Casady, a.k.a. Tilenut, a Canoma magician, both for the intended and unexpected uses of the program
  • Canoma models in a live 3D multi-user world - check it out !
  • Look at the Virtual London and Shared Architecture projects that are part of the Designing Better Cities Initiative of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in London. They allow people to send in photographs and will make Canoma models of them for use in an online 3D environment called Active Worlds, examples in Metastream format.
  • Greg Downing has a web page with a Canoma model of the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and another difficult Van Gogh !
  • Mark Cashman has a website with Canoma generated models (integrated with other 3D packages like Bryce, Poser, Carrara)
  • Simon Harbord also has Canoma models generated from Kite Aerial Photography here and here
  • Canoma models used in a murder scene reconstruction ? Check out "Murder on Smuttynose Island" I am not making this up.

Canoma Related Links

General Interest

  • In The Campanile Movie, Paul Debevec created a photorealistic fly-by of the UC Berkeley Campus from twenty photographs using his Facade photogrammetric modeling system, which was a source of inspiration for building the Canoma product in the first place.
  • No Canoma models here (yet?) but a most interesting program: Skylinesoft makes a free browser Terraexplorer which allows realtime flyovers over major cities. They combine satellite images (1 meter = 1 pixel, i.e. very hires) from SpaceImaging (itself a great source of Canomifiable images), digital elevation models from USGS, and sparse actual 3D models of buildings (this is where Canoma models could make things look better) If you have a fast PC and internet connection, you should check this out.
  • Charles Benton has a rich and beautiful site on Kite Aerial Photography - his kite was also involved in Paul Debevecs Campanile Project and he created some photographs for Chris Casadys reconstruction of Pierce Ranch at Pt. Reyes. As with all images found on the net: please ask the authors for permission to use or display their materials in your projects !
  • As a general, great resource for anybody interested in 3D on the web, look at Sandy Resslers Focus on 3D site, full with reviews, links to authoring tools, technologies, companies etc.

Art and perspective

Virtual Towns and Urban Planning

  • The Urban Simulation Laboratory at UCLA and "Virtual LA" - the future of urban planning, simulation, architectural review and emergency planning ?
  • The University of Bologna, Italy, NUME project: visit the town center of Bologna in 3D - you can even change the year (between 1000 and 2000AD) and you will see buildings appear and disappear to give a historically accurate rendition.
  • Townbuilder (in development by the Environmental Simulation Center), a geographic information system with realtime 3D visualization for architects, city planners, citizens.
  • 360 Days in Active Worlds, about to include a Virtual London built using Canoma