3-D animations bringing #LostCambridge to life. A 21st Century Cambridge Museums project?

A dragon's best friend

Summary

Looking and learning from archivist Hannah Rice at East Riding, Cambridge has huge potential to combine archives with 3-D.

I was following the hashtag #DCDC17 where the great and the good from the archives community seemed to be. I confess that it’s only in recent times that I’ve become interested in archives – in part because it took so long for me to get my head around how to actually use them properly.

Archives are complicated creatures

I use that term deliberately – for *archives* are living and breathing institutions that have the archivists as their beating hearts and buzzing brains that make them function. It’s easy to dismiss or stereotype archivists as people who don’t like to be disturbed/don’t like daylight/don’t like human contact – you’ve seen it in a movie somewhere. This is why I think it’s a dangerous thing to go about cutting funding for our…

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Looking forward to #DCDC2017 : Registration still open!

I’m really excited to be presenting at this year’s ‘Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities‘ (DCDC) conference. This year’s theme looks at the cultural value of collections and the creative economy, covering topics such as:

  • opening up collections through digital technology
  • engaging audiences with real and imagined environments
  • crowd-sourcing and creative spaces
  • heritage and the human experience

I will be speaking within my capacity as Archives Assistant with the East Riding Archives to talk about our Archives in 3D workshops.

Here’s my synopsis for ‘Archives in 3D: A multidisciplinary approach to digital engagement’ :

In celebration of Hull City of Culture 2017, ‘Archives in 3D’ were a series of practical 3D modelling workshops at the East Riding Archives combining digital techniques, interpretation skills, architectural history and the creative reuse of collections. These workshops were an opportunity for participants to recreate Hull and East Riding built heritage whilst learning how to use collections to inspire and inform their own historical reconstructions. This presentation will explore the lessons learned, practicalities and impact of a multidisciplinary approach to digital engagement.

DCDC17 will be held at The Lowry, Salford from 27-29 Nov 2017 and registration will close on October 31st. You can purchase tickets via the DCDC website. #DCDC17

DCDC is managed by Research Libraries UK and The National Archives.

3D Model: Spurn Lighthouse

This lighthouse located at Spurn Point (East Riding of Yorkshire) was built in c.1895 using the designs of Cornish engineer Thomas Matthews. It stands 39m high and is made of brick and rests on concrete foundations. The lighthouse is currently one of two at the site,

The lighthouse is currently one of two at the site, however, there have been several previous lighthouses, with the first one being built c.1427. The light was discontinued in 1985 and underwent restoration in 2015.

Spurn point lifeboat men's houses foundations near to the two lighthouses
Location of the lifeboat men’s houses. You can still see the brickwork sitting in the ground. Photos by Hannah Rice.

The inspiration to recreate Spurn Point’s current high lighthouse came from my own ancestral tourism trip where I was researching the once-home of my 3xgreat-grandparents.

My 3xgreat-grandfather, William Bacchus, and his wife Sarah Ann (3xgreat-grandmother) used to live on Spurn Point itself whilst he was a lifeboat man from 1877-1891 (with a two-year break from 1883-1885). During this time, my 2xgreat-grandmother Lavinia was born in 1879, along with sister Sarah Jane in 1882, and they lived in the lifeboat men’s houses overlooking the two older lighthouses.

Spurn Lighthouse 3D model by Hannah Rice. Wireframe to Textured blend.
Spurn Lighthouse by Hannah Rice. Wireframe to Textured blend.

3D Model: Thompson’s Folly, Cottingham

“Thompson’s Folly” was built in 1825 by Thomas Thompson within the grounds of his grand castellated house, Cottingham Castle near Hull. Built as a prospect tower, it stands on the highest point of the estate which at present is the grounds of Castle Hill Hospital.

Cottingham Castle was left as a derelict site after Thompson’s death in 1828 and a subsequent fire in May 1861. The folly is in the octagonal tower form featuring neo-gothic windows and is two-storeys tall. The style highly resembles Cottingham Castle itself- perhaps another future project!

 

Archives + 3D: My guest blog post on Sketchfab

Beverley Gate Hull render of 3D model, Hannah Rice
Beverley Gate image render by Hannah Rice

I recently wrote a guest blog post for Sketchfab on my methods for recreating built heritage using archives, Blender 3D software and some heritage interpretation. Many thanks to the Sketchfab Cultural Heritage Lead Tom Flynn and the team! 🙂

You can read my post on the Cultural Heritage section of Sketchfab: Bringing Built Heritage to (Digital) Life

3D Model: Bridlington Cemetery Chapel

I’ve been wanting to create a model of this Gothic-revival building for years and finally got around to create one based on my own photographs. Bridlington Cemetery Chapel (as mentioned in one of my old posts) is a Grade II listed building located in Bridlington’s main cemetery off Sewerby Road.

Bridlington Cemetery Chapel 3D model Hannah Rice
Model by Hannah Rice

The architect is Alfred Smith of Nottingham and on the front pediment is the date 1879 carved in the stone. It is a beautiful, symmetrical structure in the Victorian Gothic style that has an imposing presence over the cemetery. At the rear, some of the windows are unfortunately boarded up (as of April 2017 when I photographed the building), and so within my model I have replicated the decorated tracery that you can see on the front wings as this would have been the most likely scheme.

Bridlington Cemetery Chapel 3D model by Hannah Rice
Model by Hannah Rice

I particularly like the symmetrical nature of the structure with the arcades and central tower. For a potential future development, I may consider modelling some of the chapel’s surrounding graveyard to include some foliage and gravestones. This cemetery includes some lovely sculptural headstones which would be a particular challenge to model, but would really place this building within its wider context. This model of Bridlington Cemetery Chapel is a personal project and was created using my own photographs and Blender3D software.

Hollar’s Hull in 3D: Part I

I’m feeling inspired by the recent ‘Archives in 3D’ workshops (which I facilitated in my work capacity as Archives Assistant at the East Riding Archives) where we modelled Hull’s Beverley Gate and King Henry VIII’s Hull Castle using Blender3D and material held in collections at the East Riding Archives. Instead of leaving my Hull Castle model at the WIP stage, I thought I would develop my model further by placing it within its historical context surrounded by buildings of its period and (hopefully) with a textured finish!

Hollar Hull, view of HulL Castle
Hollar’s view of King Henry VIII’s Hull Castle

Wenceslaus Hollar’s plan and view of Hull, c.1642, is one of the most well-known historical images of the city and features King Henry VIII’s Hull Castle, the four main gatehouses and significant other locations such as Suffolk Palace and Hull Holy Trinity Church. Using Hollar’s representation, which has been reprinted in various historical publications available at several archive services, my next project is to recreate Hollar’s view of the city piece-by-piece beginning with the top section that includes Hull Castle.

Here are a few screenshots of my progress so far:

Work in progress, Hollar's Hull, Hannah Rice in Blender
WIP model of Hollar’s Hull by Hannah Rice

In addition to the architectural features of the fortifications I will also model some ships, canons and other elements included within Hollar’s representation, which will be new for me having previously only worked with buildings! As you can see, there is a long way to go as I’m starting off with simple geometry and will add more detail later. My next step will be to model more varieties of buildings and ships from the Civil War period and populate the city and river areas, all using Hollar’s view as inspiration.

Work in progress, Hollar's Hull, Hannah Rice in Blender

Work in progress, Hollar's Hull, Hannah Rice in Blender
WIP models by Hannah Rice