Tag Archives: RMO Leiden

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.

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 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.

 

Successful opening of the exhibitions

22 Oct

Logo of the double exhibition Etruscans: Eminent Women, Powerful Men

On October 13, 2011, the double exhibition  Etruscans was opened in Amsterdam in the aula of the University of Amsterdam, attended by 700 people, including a large Italian delegation, with representatives of the museums that cooperate in these exhibitions and the Etruscanning team.

academic_opening

Academic opening of the Etruscans exhibition in the aula of the University of Amsterdam (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

This academic session was opened by Wim Hupperetz, director of the Allard Pierson Museum and coordinator of the Etruscanning project, which created for these exhibitions an interactive VR application to explore the Regolini-Galassi tomb through natural interaction.  The exhibition in the Allard Pierson Museum focuses on “Powerful Men“.  Images of the setup in Amsterdam can be found in the previous blog entry.

WIm Hupperetz

Presentation by Wim Hupperetz (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

On October 14, 2011, the exhibition on Etruscans opened in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, focused on “Eminent Women“.   As the Etruscanning VR application shows the Regolini-Galassi tomb, in which both a leading woman and man were buried, it is shown in both exhibitions.  Below are two images showing the setup in Leiden during the evening of the opening in which around 1300 people visited the museum.

RMO_etruscanning_1

A young museum visitor using the Etruscanning VR application in RMO Leiden (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

RMO_etruscanning_1

The interactive projection of the Regolini-Galassi tomb attracts a lot of visitors (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

Currently, the interactive virtual reality application in both museums is shown with storytelling in Dutch.  An English version of the narration has been recorded and an Italian version is being prepared for recording.  Both versions will be shown at the ArcheoVirtual exhibition at the Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico (Nov 17-20, 2011, in Paestum, Italy).

The Etruscanning research continues, on the digital restoration of the objects, on their optimal representation in a real time 3D system and on the use of gestures to select and manipulate objects.  An updated version of the application, providing more focus on the digitised museum objects, will be shown at the Museum Night in Amsterdam on Nov 5, 2011.  We hope to show a gesture based version in both exhibitions by January 2013.

During 2012, a second Etruscan tomb will be reconstructed and visualised with the same approach.  Interactive VR visualisations of both tombs and their objects will be integrated in a prestigious exhibition on Etruscan culture in the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, Belgium in January 2013.

The development of museum VR installations based upon natural interfaces, such as this Etruscanning project, is an exciting, new way of integrating interactive 3D into museums and exhibitions.  CNR-ITABC developed a very first version of this technology in the temporary exhibition Colors of Giotto (video) with a lot of success.  The assessment of the fitness for use and robustness of implementation of this Etruscanning application is carried out by the European V-MusT.net Network of Excellence, that focuses on museum technology and virtual museums.  The research is carried out by the Heritage Lab of the Allard Pierson Museum, that is a leading partner within the V-MusT.net consortium.

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.

 

An Etruscan grave in 3D

11 Oct
RMO

Putting the final touch in the exhibition on Etruscans in the National Museum of Antiquities (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

At the exhibitions in Amsterdam and Leiden, the last objects are put in the glass cases, the floor is cleaned and the spots are aligned.  The interactive VR application, showing the reconstructed Regolini-Galassi tomb, has been installed in the Allard Pierson Museum (APM) in Amsterdam and the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden.

Technodesk

Installation of the special projector by TechnoDesk (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The most innovative element of the application is the use of a natural interaction interface, which means that the user moves inside the 3D space just by walking around on a map of the tomb.

Etruscanning setup

Etruscanning setup : map, large screen and projector (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The public can explore the virtual tomb, see the digital artifacts in close-up, and listen to stories told by the prestigious Etruscan personages that were buried nearly 2700 years ago in the tomb.

Etruscanning setup

Exploring the tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

All this is possible by moving around in front of the projection, in a simple and natural way.  The user walks on a map of the real grave, attached to the floor, on which some hotspots are indicated.  Changing position from one hotspot to another, one moves also in the virtual space, exploring the tomb and the objects and triggering the storytelling.    This solution not only results in an amazing interaction for the public but allows also people of every age to enjoy the virtual content without any prior knowledge of 3D interaction.

Etruscanning setup

Storytelling through the objects of the tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The story is told in the first person by the two people that are buried in the tomb.  They are ghosts, living today and knowing our culture and society, but guiding us around in their tomb just after the burial, speaking from their point of view of Etruscan nobility.  The stories are linked to the objects in the tomb, which are visualised in close-up, highlighted by extra virtual illumination.

Etruscanning setup

Outside view of the Regolini-Galassi tumulus (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The image is projected on a large 12 sqm screen from above by a special projector with mirrors, so that the visitor never gets in the way of the projected image.  Together with the physical involvement of the user, this produces a strong sensorial immersivity.

project team in RG tomb

The Etruscanning project team in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

This VR installation in both museums is the first result of a two year multidisciplinary project Etruscanning that will be further developed  by the Allard Pierson Museum, CNR-ITABC and Visual Dimension, in close cooperation with the National Museum for Antiquities of the Netherlands, the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, the Vatican Museums, the Soprintendenza dell’Etruria Meridionale di Villa Giulia and CNR-ISCIMA.

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.

 

First version of the interactive application

10 Oct

The interactive application, that will be inaugurated in the Allard Pierson museum in Amsterdam on October 13, 2011, and in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden on October 14, 2011, is working.  The application allows to interactively explore the Regolini-Galassi tomb by walking on a map of the tomb.  In the next blog entry, we will explain in detail how the application works.

tomb overview

View when enetering the tomb (image: CNR-ITABC)

This first version of the application shows already about 80 objects that were digitised in the last two months.  More objects will be added in upcoming versions. For digitisaton, several techniques were used. The tomb was digitised by laser scanning. Most objects were hand modelled from new photography that was made by the photographic department of the Vatican Museums.  Some objects (such as the cauldron with griffin heads above) were modelled by automatic photogrammetry from images.  Other objects could rely on physical reconstructions such as the chariot below.

chariot

View on the objects in the dromos (entrance) (image: CNR-ITABC)

Many objects need more work, as most objects still need to go through a process of extensive digital restoration to bring them back in their original  state at the moment of the burial.  This includes removal of corrosion and repair of broken or damaged parts. For others, the current reconstruction needs to be revised, based upon the most recent archaeological understanding about these objects (such as the chariot above).

cart and bed

View on the objects in the antechamber (image: CNR-ITABC)

Some objects were the result of extensive digital restoration. The situla for example (see image below) was recreated digitally based upon the current physical restoration.  This recreation was made by simulating the production processes of the object, such as engraving and embossing the sheet of silver that is wrapped around the wooden bucket.

situla

View on the main burial chamber (cella) (image: CNR-ITABC)

For the first time, a visualisation is shown of the woman, buried in the Regolini-Galassi tombe.  Currently, we have limited the visualisation of the objects to the golden pectoral and the golden disc fibula, but future work will add more jewels, and the fibulae and golden leave decoration on the shroud.

pectoral

View on the deceased princess (image: CNR-ITABC)

A lot of new research was done to concerning the position of the golden disc fibula.  As we could not prove from iconography that the shroud was used to cover the face, and as other research showed that such a fibula was rather placed on the abdomen, we stick in our visualisation to the second hypothesis we have proposed, in favour of placing the fibula on the face (see image below).

fibula

View on the disc fibula (image: CNR-ITABC)

A short movie, showing this first version of the VR application in action, can be found here.  The Etruscanning partners will continue to improve the VR application in its current form and develop new ways of visualisation and interaction for the next exhibition in Tongeren, Belgium at the end of 2012.

In the upcoming blogs, we will not only show the installation and the application in action, but also shown more details about the modelling and digital restoration of the objects, and about the storytelling paradigm of the VR application.

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.