Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the holiday, check out this rather amazing zombie ShapeShot:


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Pharaoh - Digitally Documenting Ancient Sculptures

Sculptures in ancient Egypt were thought to grant eternal life to the kings, queens, and gods that they portrayed. For this and other reasons, people even today are fascinated by the ancient Egyptian culture and the remarkable sculptures they left behind, many of which remain in museum collections around the world. Many museums consider their Egyptian collection among their most popular exhibits. The Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of Pharaohs, for example, is regarded as the most popular traveling exhibit in history.

Considered one of the finest Ancient Egyptian collections in the world, The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has over 42,000 items in their collection. Direct Dimensions was approached recently by the University of Pennsylvania museum, known as The University Museum, with an exciting 3D project: the museum officials wanted to offer replicas of some of the more special pieces for sale in the museum gift shop.

Given the well preserved condition of these original ancient artifacts, and the museum's dedication to quality and authenticity, it was important that the replicas be as close to a perfect copy as possible. The officials quickly realized that advanced non-contact 3D imaging technology would be needed to perform this task.
For example, with the age of the sculptures dating back to approximately 1300 B.C., it would not be possible to cast a mold off the pieces as this could damage the originals. It was also determined that some of the pieces would need to be reproduced in smaller and/or larger versions than the originals, so direct casting would not work.

With previous experience scanning the sculptures of Matisse and Degas for institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, National Galley of Art in DC, and MOMA, Direct Dimensions provided the expertise to help The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology complete this project. Working in museums with priceless works of art has become a regular component of our business and growing broader everyday.

The DDI technicians scanned four different sculptures: the Amun, the Headless Princess, the Scribe, and a Kneeling King Tut. An articulating arm-based laser line scanner provided high accuracy and real-time feedback to assure complete capture before heading back to Baltimore to process the raw scan data.

 For the post-processing, we used Innovmetric’s PolyWorks Modeler software to create highly accurate watertight 3D digital models of each of the ancient pieces. During both the scanning and modeling processes, specific attention was paid to fine cracks and other imperfections in the original pieces – qualities that would make the reproductions that much more accurate and realistic. Some of the models were also scaled to several different heights so that the gift shop could offer the reproductions at different pricing levels.
The final digital models were formatted into STL files and fabricated using rapid prototyping to create high quality patterns. Then the museum arranged for a production fabricator to cast the reproductions in a high quality resin material.

The museum-quality reproduction sculptures are some of the most popular items in their gift shop and visitors are thrilled to bring a little piece of Ancient Egypt home with them.

If you would like to make museum-quality reproductions to raise funds for your museum, please contact Direct Dimensions.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3D Scanning at the Movies

More of our 3D scanning for VFX showing up in two critically acclaimed films this week.

Our scanning crews went on-site to digitally document actors for both John Wick and Birdman. Check out the trailers below for glimpses of the effects.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fly Through of 3D Scan Data

Please take the time to view this color point-cloud fly-thru from a recent 3D laser scan of an archaeology site in Maryland. Direct Dimensions used a Faro Focus to scan the historical site.