Photogrammetry + Books!

My book for #3DScanBooks on Sketchfab is “The Buildings of England, Cornwall” by Peter Beacham and Nikolaus Pevsner.

This model was created using Autodesk Remake with 100 photos. I also tried Agisoft Photoscan though the mesh came out much simpler in Remake and Agisoft couldn’t pick up all of the black surfaces. The book cover was very shiny and as I had to take the photographs outside, although the lighting was more even, the weather was slightly windy so there was some slight distortion in the model.

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Archives Inspire Video

Last year I was very fortunate to be invited to The National Archives (TNA) in Kew to feature in their Archives Inspire video (above), filmed by the wonderful Magneto Films.

It was a privilege to be filmed alongside the other cast who are all brilliant professionals and it was lovely to revisit TNA after spending a year as one of their Transforming Archives Trainee‘s. The Magneto team were very professional, especially as it was my 1st attempt at being in front of a rather large camera!

Archives Inspire is a four year campaign looking at new ways audiences can experience and use archives- have a look at TNA’s Chief Executive Jeff James’ blog post and the Archives Inspire pages on TNA’s website for more.

Digital is an interesting challenge for the archives sector, where records being produced are increasingly in the digital format (think from large organisation’s records to personal photographs). Over the past decade Archivists have been thinking about how to preserve digital media for accountability, evidential, cultural and research purposes. At present, digital is now becoming central to the archival profession as we hope to preserve these records and facilitate access.

I am particularly interested in the creative uses of archives, especially heritage engagement using 3D models, websites, online exhibitions and videogames. I was very honoured to be able to showcase some of my 3D work in TNA’s Archives Inspire video- you can see my North Bar (Beverley) model in the video showcased using the software Blender 3D. Very grateful that something I’ve been doing for over 5 years is being featured in such an important video.

 

The Pilgrim Rabbit, St Mary’s Church, Beverley

The “Pilgrim Rabbit” is one of my favourite medieval carvings and is located at the sacristy entrance within St Mary’s Parish Church, Beverley, East Yorkshire.

St Mary's Church, Beverley photograph by Hannah Rice
St Mary’s Church, Beverley. Photo copyright: Hannah Rice

The corbel carving, c.1330, is claimed to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit who leads Alice down the hole into Wonderland. But could the Pilgrim Rabbit be a hare? There are also visual similarities with Carroll’s other character The March Hare, otherwise known as Haigha / The Messenger.

In Through the Looking Glass (Carroll, 1871) Haigha is the personal messenger to the White King and is visually alike to the Pilgrim Rabbit in this accompanying illustration by John Tenniel:

The King and the Messenger by John Tenniel. Illustration for the seventh chapter. 1865
The King and the Messenger by John Tenniel. Illustration for the seventh chapter. 1865

From a visit to St Mary’s Church in Beverley, I created a model of the Pilgrim Rabbit (see above Sketchfab model embed) using photogrammetry techniques – quite a change from my usual poly-by-poly modelling in Blender.

Pilgrim Rabbit Photogrammetry in Autodesk 123DCatch
Pilgrim Rabbit Photogrammetry in Autodesk 123DCatch

To do this I took a series of photographs of the sculpture, around 25, gaining as much coverage as I could from all angles. I then imported these photographs  into Autodesk 123D Catch to create a mesh, and uploaded the obj file along with the texture file to Sketchfab. The model turned out better than I expected, particularly as the area above the rabbit was quite difficult for me to photograph with the sculpture being above head height.

Immersive Digital Environments & Gaming Potentials

Just spent a couple of hours in the “3Sixty” which is a room in the Ron Cooke Hub at the University of York (see photo below).

3sixtypagebanner

photo source:  http://www.york.ac.uk/ctc/3sixty/

The 3Sixty consists of four walls in which digital images are projected onto from a computer. In my session today myself and peers were immersed actually inside a 3D visualisation of a French Cistercian monastery in Greece (created by Dr Anthony Masinton, University of York) which was based on archaeological data.

Although the room is named the 3Sixty, we actually got a 180-degree view and we could look around us as though we were actually standing inside the monastery. I found this exciting as I could get a real sense of scale of the monastery’s interior though it would have been nice to have had an additional screen on the ceiling to further enhance the immersion. We also listened to some   chant music and found that the use of auralisation in a 3D model enhanced the sense of place compared to being just a representation in “cyberspace”.

This got me thinking- can technologies used in the 3Sixty be utilised for gaming?   Before experiencing immersion in a computer generated environment I would have said “definitely yes”, but with hindsight I left the 3Sixty feeling amazed at what I had just experienced but also very disorientated and a bit nauseous, so now I’m thinking yes but it will need a lot of work into making it more user-friendly. I only spent around two hours in the room, sat down looking at the static image of the monastery that surrounded me.That was fine, until we started “walking” through the monastery like on a computer game, and that’s when the dizziness hit.

It would be amazing if the computer games industry could utilise these technologies so you, as the character, could navigate actually inside another world and fully interact with other players (perhaps in a World of Warcraft style) in a more unencumbered manner, so no peripherals such as a headset, or mouse, keyboard or controller. It may be the future of gaming, or it may not due to motion-sensitive people like me…