Virtual Museums: Combining 3D Modelling, Photogrammetry and Gaming Software

I wrote the post below yesterday night, but since it was written I’ve managed to create at least a part of what is described in the text, which is shown in the video above. Hence keep in mind that the rest of the post may be slightly different from what is in the video.

One of the more popular posts I’ve published seems to be the one about public engagement at Caerau, South Wales, in which I created an online gallery with the clay “Celtic” heads school children made. The main concept that I was analysing in the text was the idea that we could create digital galleries in which to display artefacts,

When I wrote the word gallery I imagined the computer definition of gallery, as in a collection of images (or in this case models) within a single folder. However I have since found this: http://3dstellwerk.com/frontend/index.php?uid=8&gid=18&owner=Galerie+Queen+Anne&title=1965%2C85%C2%B0C

This is an example of what the website http://3dstellwerk.com offers, an opportunity for artists the create a virtual space in which to display their work. It allows users to go “walk” through the gallery and view the 2d artwork as if it were an actual exhibition. Although the navigation may require a little improvement, it is a brilliant idea to make art more accessible to people.

Virtual Museum

This idea however could easily be adapted for archaeology, using Photogrammetry, Making models of a selection of artefacts using 123D Catch, we can then place them within a virtual space created with our 3D software of choice, in order to then animate it using gaming software such as Unity 3D which would allow user interaction. A large scale project could even allow the objects to be clicked in order to display additional information, or create audio to go with each artefact. Video clips could also be incorporated within the virtual space.

Virtual Museum 2

On an even larger scale this could mean we can create online museums available to all and with specific goals in mind. As we are talking of digital copies of objects, it would be possible to group in a single virtual space a number of significant objects without having to physically remove them from their original location.

The only problem that we may encounter with this idea is file size, as each photogrammetric model is relatively small and manageable, yet if we want a decent sized virtual museum we are going to need a large portion of data. Still, even if the technology at present is not quite capable of dealing with the bulk, the rate at which it is improving will allow such ideas to be doable in the near future.

Virtual Museum 3

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About Rob Barratt

Mphil in Archaeological Research at Cambridge Univerity, BA in archaeology from Cardiff University, field archaeologist, technology enthusiast and computer geek. I like writing codes and making fancy models of old stuff.

6 responses to “Virtual Museums: Combining 3D Modelling, Photogrammetry and Gaming Software

  1. Please check out our YOUTUBE videos of the virtual environments of archaeological sites we have generated in AVAYALIVE ENGAGE http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYQ0NR5NGLmz-dD94SLIF6g

  2. We have a Flickr photostream showing some of our work. Interestingly enough we took a free scan of the owner of Ten 24 3D scan store at http://www.3dscanstore.com and imported it into a virtual environment (which uses a web embedded UNREAL MMO engine) Here is a screenshot Please browse the other screenshots to see the range of potential themes possible http://www.flickr.com/photos/65696862@N08/9329803584/

  3. We have been working with AVAYALIVE ENGAGE for three years now. Basically, it is possible to generate virtual environments from any 3D source material which includes
    1. Models produced from CAD software such as AUTOCAD, 3D Studio Max or Blender.
    2. Laser scanned files (preferably .obj with textures attached)
    3. 3D models made by photogrammetry or white light scanners.


    Please explore the new virtual museum at http://wa692.avayalive.com

    The virtual museum was possible because most art galleries are releasing high resolution images of their work but the Usher Gallery has released a series of 3D files of their sculptures. So in essence any art work, archaeological artifact or visual art item can be replicated digitally and represented in a virtual environment. the barrier is that most institutions are not presently allowing the release of their laser scanned collections.

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