Tag Archives: 3D VR

2013 in review

5 Jan

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Etruscanning 3D wins the Italian Heritage Award 2013

12 Nov

On October 4, 2013, the VR visualisation of the Regolini-Galassi tomb, as part of the Etruscanning 3D project, was awarded the Italian Heritage Award for Communication and Dissemination of Cultural Heritage.  The award was given to Eva Pietroni of CNR-ITABC, who was coordinating the technical part of the project.

Eva Pietroni

Eva Pietroni (CNR-ITABC) receives the Italian Heritage Award for the Etruscanning 3D project (photo: Bartolomeo Trabassi, CNR-ITABC)

The Etruscanning 3D  team is very honoured to receive this prestigious award and wants to thank all involved partners and people that made this possible.

Etruscanning team

From left to right: Maurizio Sannibale (Vatican Museums), arch. Paolo Salonia (director CNR-ITABC), Augusto Palombini and Eva Pietroni (CNR-ITABC), Iefke Van Kampen (Museo dell’Agro Veientano), photo: Bartolomeo Trabassi, CNR-ITABC

In the meantime, Etruscanning is preparing for its last stop in its world tour as part of the Italia del Futuro tour, it will go to Budapest.

Yesterday the exhibition The Etruscans – Una Storia Particolare closed after a very successful prolongation and 88.005 visitors!  The Etruscanning setup performed flawlessly. Thanks to the team of the Tongeren museum!  The virtual Regolini-Galassi tomb can be seen permanently in the Etruscan division of the Vatican Museums.

Monte Michele

Monte Michele Tomb no. 5 application at the Digital Heritage Expo (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In the last week of October 2013, the Monte Michele Tomb application was demonstrated at the Digital Heritage Expo in Marseille.  More than 5000 visitors were exploring the latest developments in digital heritage, including the attendees of the Digital Heritage 2013 conference. The application itself will be installed soon in the Villa Giulia museum in Rome. You can find a preview of the application here.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Etruscanning in Tokyo

22 May

The Etruscanning application showing the reconstructed Regolini-Galassi tomb is part of a technological exhibition Italia del futuro, that is travelling around the world.  The exhibition is organised and promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently, the exhibition was shown in Tokyo, in the Istituto Italiano di Cultura from April 17 to May 17, 2013.

Italia_del_futuro

The traveling technology exhibition Italia del futuro in the Istituto Italiana di Cultura in Tokyo

The Etruscanning application is a contribution of CNR to this exhibition, as example of virtual heritage.

Etruscanning_at_Italia_del_futuro

Etruscanning installation (left) at the exhibition Italia del futuro

The president of CNR, Doct. Luigi Nicolais, was present at the opening of the exhibition (second person from the left in the image below).

opening_Italia_del_futuro

Opening of the exhibition Italia del futuro

The next stop of this exhibition will be in San Franscico, USA, from July 12 to August 23, 2013.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Etruscanning 3D installed in the Vatican Museums

7 Apr

On April 4, 2013, the latest version of the Etruscanning 3D application was inaugurated in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in the Vatican Museums.  The installation consists of a non-interactive film that is displayed in Room 2 where the Regolini-Galasssi objects are displayed, and an interactive 3D application with a natural interaction interface in Room 16. On multiple screens within the Vatican Museums, an introduction film to the application was shown.

Vatican museums entrance

Part of the Etruscanning team at the entrance of the Vatican Museums in front of the Etruscanning promo film (from left to right: Wim Hupperetz, René van Beek, Daniel Pletinckx, Christie Ray, Judith Vos, photo: Veerle Delange)

Press conference room

Many people attended the project presentation at the press conference room of the Vatican (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

The inauguration of the installation was proceeded by presentations by the involved project partners, introduced by Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums.  Maurizio Sannibale, curator of the Gregorian Etruscan Museum, provided an introduction to the Regolini-Galassi tomb, and Wim Hupperetz, director of the Allard Pierson Museum and Etruscanning project coordinator, presented the project and the resulting publication.

Presentations

Presentations were given by Antonio Paolucci (middle), Wim Hupperetz (left) and Maurizio Sannibale (right) (photo: Sofia Pescarin)

Salvatore Garraffo, director of CNR-ITABC, introduced the technology used in the project, while Eva Pietroni (CNR-ITABC) and Daniel Pletinckx (Visual Dimension bvba) explained the natural interaction interface, the digitisation of the museum objects and their digital restoration.  Rita Cosentino (Soprintendenza all’Etruria Meridionale) and Vincenzo Bellelli (CNR-ISMA) provided a wider context for the Regolini-Galassi tomb and its objects.

Introduction film

Introduction film to the virtual reconstruction of the Regolini-Galassi tomb in its museum room (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

After the presentations, the installation was inaugurated.  In Room 2, where all objects of the Regolini-Galassi tomb are on display, a large screen shows the virtual reconstruction of the tomb with the digitally restored objects integrated in the tomb.  In this way, the objects are shown in their original context in their original state, providing the visitors with an even better appreciation and understanding of the objects.  The film invites the visitors also to use the interactive application, which is located in nearby room (room 16), due to the lack of sufficient space in the Regolini-Galassi room.

Natural interaction interface

Interactive Etruscanning application using a natural interaction interface (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In the interactive application, the visitor navigates through the tomb and selects objects and their related stories through simple, natural gestures (such as right arm forward for moving forward) detected by a Kinect camera. When starting, the visitor can select a language (Italian, English, Dutch) and can practice the navigation and object selection when approaching the virtual tomb.  Once inside, the visitor can explore the entrance, antechamber, cella, left and right niche of the tomb with all its objects in place, select specific objects and listen to the stories connected to the objects.  This video shows how it works in English or Italian.

Many newspapers, magazines and news websites covered this inauguration. To name a few: La Repubblica, Il Messagero, Radio Vaticana, Gizmondo, Buone Notizie, Reset Italia, Good News, ArcheoMatica, …

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Etruscanning3D in Tongeren

18 Mar

On March 15, 2013, the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, Belgium opened a great exhibition on the Etruscans, named Una Storia Particolare. The exhibition shows a excellent selection of Etruscan objects and ends with the Regolini-Galassi tomb.  Many objects on display are on loan from the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and the Vatican Museums.

Regolini-Galassi room

Room dedicated to the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In a separate room, the contour of Regolini-Galassi tomb has been depicted on the floor and some of the objects from the tomb are on display, positioned on the same place as in the original tomb. Key objects which are on display are the six-headed lebes and the bronze holmos.

Regolini-Galassi room

Objects from the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

Next to the objects from the Regolini-Galassi, the Etruscanning3D application has been installed, showing the tomb and about 80 digitally restored objects in an interactive way through virtual reality.  This serious games setup is based upon a Kinect camera and uses the version of the software with the hotspots.

Etruscanning3D

The Etruscanning3D application in the Tongeren museum (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

The exhibition is open until August 25, 2013.  More practical information can be found here.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

The holmos and lebes digitally restored

28 Nov

The bronze holmos of the Regolini-Galassi tomb is a very elaborated and beautiful object that has suffered significant damage and corrosion.

bronze holmos

Bronze holmos from the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo: Vatican Museums)

To reveal the beauty of this object, we have unwrapped its decoration and used this image to create the line drawing of the engraved decoration.  Based upon this engraving and upon detailed study of the applied embossing, we have created a displacement map of the decoration of each of the parts of the holmos.

holmos unwrapped texture

Unwrapped decoration of the holmos cone (image: Visual Dimension bvba)

The displacement map is created in the same way as for the other objects: we simulate the engraving and embossing process in different layers of a Photoshop image, that is overlaid on the unwrapped texture.

Depth map holmos cone

Displacement map of the holmos cone (image: Visual Dimension bvba)

The displacement map is transformed into a normal map in Unity3D, giving a very nice real time rendering of the bronze object.

DROMOS8_new

Digitally restored holmos, placed in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image: CNR-ITABC)

Digitally restored holmos, placed in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image: CNR-ITABC)

DROMOS10_new

Digitally restored holmos, placed in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image: CNR-ITABC)

The 6-headed lebes also suffered deformation and damage, so we performed digital restoration on this object as well.

6-headed lebes

Bronze six-headed lebes from the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo:Vatican Museums)

In this case, we derived the unwrapped texture from a 3D model that was made from dense stereo matching on a set of photographs taken with an object tent.

3D photography of the lebes

Photography of the lebes in an object tent for creating the 3D model (photo: Vatican Museums)

detail of lebes

Detail of the engraving of the lebes (photo: Vatican Museums)

We first identified the full engraving of the lebes on the unwrapped texture, completing the missing parts.  Then, we painted the embossed features in a similar way as the other objects, through observation of those features on the many photographs taken.

lebes_depth_map_comp

Displacement map superimposed upon the unwrapped texture of the lebes (image: Visual Dimension bvba)

The displacement map was imported in Unity3D and translated into a normal map for real time visualisation (see images below, compare with images above).  All digitally restored objects are integrated in the new version of the application.

digitally restored six-headed lebes

Digitally restored six-headed lebes (image:CNR-ITABC)

Digitally restored six-headed lebes

Digitally restored six-headed lebes (image:CNR-ITABC)

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

The situla restored digitally

27 Nov

One of the outstanding silver objects from the Regolini-Galassi tomb  is a situla, a ritual bucket to contain holy water or milk.  The situla is only preserved partially and consisted of a wooden cilindrical bucket decorated with a silver cover showing three animals and palmettes, as the symbol of life.

Silver situla

Silver and wood situla of the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo: Vatican Museums)

The silver decoration was found by the excavators in a fragmented state and recovered only partially.  Presumably, the situla was suspended in the triangular window opening (see image below) and when the situla fell down, it broke and many fragments that fell on the ground were destroyed by corrosion.

situla suspended in triangular window

Situla suspended in the triangular window of the tomb (image: CNR-ITABC)

We digitised the situla by turntable photography (so that the cylinder could be unwrapped as one image) and closeup photography, so that the hinge and the chain could be modelled in 3D by hand.  The main goal of unwrapping the cylindrical silver sheet was to digitally restore it.  The physical restoration has not been documented and dates back probably to the 19th century.

photographing the situla

Photographing the situla on a turntable at the Museo Etrusco Gregoriano (photo: CNR-ITABC)

The resulting photographs were assembled into one image, depicting the cylindrical surface of the situla.  As can be seen from the images below, the silver sheet has also been embossed and engraved.  The digital restoration focused on understanding the production process and improving the physical restoration, based upon that knowledge, as the parts that have been added do no contain any engraving or embossing.  It appeared also that a  few small parts of the original silver are missing (see for example the wing of the griffin below).

unwrapped decoration of situla

Unwrapped decoration of the situla (image: Visual Dimension bvba)

detail of situla decoration

Detail of the restored situla decoration, showing a griffin (image: Visual Dimension bvba)

The digital restoration was implemented through the creation of a displacement map, which is the most efficient technique to deal with embossed and engraved objects (see also our blog post on the digital restoration of a patera).  In Photoshop, we created extra layers on top of the unwrapped situla decoration image, one layer for the engraving, one layer for the embossing.  Additional layers have been introduced to simulate the deformation of the metal when engraving. We also created a transparency map to indicate the form of the cutouts in the silver sheet.

restored depth map

Digitally restored displacement map of the situla (by Visual Dimension bvba)

Study of the unwrapped image showed that the palmettes were made by hammering the shape with a tool in the form of the palmette.  This production process was simulated in Photoshop.  The resulting transparency and displacement maps are used in the interactive real time visualisation system that has been implemented by CNR-ITABC (see image below).

digitally restored situla

The digitally restored situla in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image: CNR-ITABC)

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

New version of the Regolini-Galassi tomb visualisation

26 Nov

After quite a long break, we’re back to continue to update this blog.  CNR-ITABC in Rome has been working hard on creating a new version that has been demonstrated at the Italian Science Festival in Genua (Oct 25 – Nov 4, 2012) and at the ArcheoVirtual exhibition that took place in the context of the Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico in Paestum, Italy (Nov 15-18, 2012).

New version of Regolini-Galassi tomb 3D application

New version of Regolini-Galassi tomb 3D application (image: CNR-ITABC)

At the Science Festival,  many children could use the application, which was hosted and evaluated by the V-MusT European network.  The V-MusT stand had about 4000 visitors.

Etruscanning3D at Genova

Etruscanning3D at Science Festival in Genova

At ArcheoVirtual, where a large number of new virtual museum applications where demonstrated, the Etruscanning3D application was also evaluated by the V-MusT team.  The visitors were very positive about the new application.

Etruscanning3D at ArcheoVirtual

Etruscanning3D at ArcheoVirtual 2012

At ArcheoVirtual, Etruscanning3D received the Award for best application in the category “New Interaction” and was the virtual museum that was appreciated the most by the visitors of the exhibition.

ArcheoVirtual Award ceremony

Etruscanning 3D receives the “New Interaction Award” at ArcheoVirtual 2012

The new version not only contains many more digitally restored objects, but allows also to navigate freely through the tomb and to select objects.  You will read more about the digital restoration of the objects in the next posts of this blog.

restored holmos

The restored holmos at the entrance of the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image:CNR-ITABC)

restored shields

The restored bronze shields in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image:CNR-ITABC)

main chamber

The main burial chamber (image: CNR-ITABC)

In April 2013, the new version of the Etruscanning3D application will be installed permanently in the Vatican Museums.

The Etruscanning application at ArcheoVirtual

23 Nov

Every year, the Virtual Heritage Lab at CNR-ITABC organises the ArcheoVirtual exhibition at the Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico and shows the best applications in archaeological visualisation.  This year, the V-MusT.net Network of Excellence, coordinated by CNR-ITABC, used the venue to organise two workshops on museum technology plus several other meetings.

ArcheoVirtual

ArcheoVirtual organiser and V-MusT coordinator Sofia Pescarin (right) with Mohamed Farouk (left) and Karim Omar (middle) of CultNat, Egypt, at the ArcheoVirtual exhibition (photo: Selma Rizvic)

One of the ArcheoVirtual stands that attracted the most interest was Etruscanning with the VR visualisation of the Etruscan Regolini-Galassi tomb. The application on display was the improved, second version in Italian.  We made a small video on how this second version of the VR application on the Regolini-Galassi tomb looks like.

Etruscanning at ArcheoVirtual

The Etruscanning application at ArcheoVirtual (photo: Selma Rizvic)

Work continues to improve the digital museum objects through digital restoration and image based digitisation.  The Dutch version of this improved application will be installed soon in Amsterdam and Leiden.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning project, that is been funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Digital restoration of a fragmented patera

23 Nov

The Regolini-Galassi tomb contained several outstanding silver and gold objects, now preserved in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in the Vatican.  One of the most interesting objects is a patera, in silver and plated gold, that was nailed to the wall of the tomb (see image below, showing its restored state, inv. nr. 20364) and that was uses for libation offers in religious rituals.  This patera most probably broke in pieces when being hit by stones from the collapsing roof in the cella of the tomb.

silver patera

Restored silver and gold patera from the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

silver patera - detail

Detail of this silver patera showing the nail hole and the deformation of the pieces (photograph: Daniel Pletinckx)

This patera is one of a set of silver objects from this tomb that are being produced in a Phoenician style with Egyptian decorations.  A very similar patera is preserved in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands, and has been integrated in the exhibition “Etruscans: Emminent Women, Powerful Men” next to the Etruscanning VR installation that shows the virtual Regolini-Galassi tomb.  The provenance of this patera is unknown but scholars believe it originates from the Etruscan Barberini tomb, that has been excavated in 1855 and is dated around 630 BC.

Patera and lebes

Patera and lebes in the Leiden exhibition on the Etruscans (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

patera RMO Leiden

Etruscan patera in Phoenician style in RMO Leiden (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

As all objects in the 3D virtual reconstruction of the Regolini-Galassi tomb are visualised in their original state at the closing of the tomb, extensive digital restoration is needed for most objects.  As the 3D visualisation of the RG tomb happens in real time, and as we want the digitally restored objects to have very fine detail, we developed an innovative digital restoration technique that can be applied to most of the objects of the tomb.  This technique simulates the surface details of the objects (such as engraving, embossing, …) and turns them into a very efficient visualisation that can be used in real time systems.

So, let’s have a look at the digital restoration of the above mentioned patera.  We start with the drawings by Grifi in 1841 of the first restoration of the patera and an improved restoration by the restoration labs of the Vatican Museums in 1999.

drawing

Drawing of the first restoration of the patera by Luigi Grifi, 1841 (image: Vatican Museums)

patera restoration by Grifi - 1841

Drawing of the first restoration of the patera by Luigi Grifi, 1841 (image: Vatican Museums)

Improved restoration 1999

Improved restoration by the Vatican Museums, 1999, drawn by L. di Blasi (image: Vatican Museums)

When comparing both restorations, one can see that there are slight differences between these restorations but also that the 1841 drawings show more details than the 1999 restoration.  Possibly, some detail was lost in the first restoration or in undoing the first restoration.  When analysing the engravings, one can see that several motives are repeated one or more times, so that nearly always we can find information about missing parts by looking at other instances of the same drawing on another place of the engraving.  When doing so, very little uncertainty is left what to fill in, only a few details such as a bird or a tree have been filled in by analogy. We also compared closely with the similar patera from RMO, shown above, to come to the most probable digital restoration of the engraving (see drawing below).

Digital restoration

Digital restoration of the engraving of the patera (Visual Dimension)

In a second step, we simulated the production process of the patera by creating a displacement map from this engraving.  This displacement map shows as a black and with image the small height perturbations that are created by the engraving (and subsequent deformation of the metal around the engraved lines) on the front of the object and the embossing (created by hammering from the back of the object).  The embossing is created manually by simulating the impression of the blunt chisel, after studying carefully the high resolution images of the object (see image below).

Detail patera 20364

Detail of the patera with appropriate lighting to enhance engraving and embossing (photo: Vatican Museums)

All these different processes yield different displacement maps which are composed as layers in Photoshop.  The resulting displacement map is a  precise simulation of the relief of the complete, undamaged patera (see image below).

displacement map

Simulated displacement map of the whole patera (Visual Dimension)

The Etruscanning VR application uses Unity 3D as software to create and visualise the virtual tomb with its animated objects and narrated stories.  In Unity 3D, a displacement map can be transformed into a normal map, which allows to visualise very efficiently the relief of objects.  In this way, we visualise details of less than 1/10th of a milimeter on the surface of this object through a very lightweight 3D object (together with 80 other 3D objects) in a realtime system, running on a small, cheap computer (in our case a  Mac mini).  On the other hand, displacement maps are an optimal and easy approach for digital restoration.

reconstructed patera

3D visualisation test of the digitally restored patera (CNR-ITABC)

In the Leiden exhibition, the digitally restored patera can be confronted with the similar patera from the Barberini tomb, on display next to the VR installation, showing the added value of digital museum objects.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning project, that is been funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

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