Creating photo-realistic 3D models.

First the object is scanned with a Faro Quantum arm laser scanner.  This scans the surface of the object with a laser and the light reflected back is detected by a camera.  The shape of the surface deforms the normally straight laser line and thus the scanner knows when the surface is flat or curved. This information is used to build a detailed model of the object surface.

Scanning a Roman elephant ivory clasp knife handle

Scanning a Roman elephant ivory clasp knife handle

Each object is scanned from many angles in order to ensure coverage of all the surfaces including cut decoration and deep cracks.  Each pass of the scanner is shown as a different colour on the computer screen as the map is gradually built up.

Each colour represents a different pass with the laser light of the scanner

Each colour represents a different pass with the laser light of the scanner

When the scanning is completed the software aligns all the scans and turns them into a polygon mesh model of the object. This is made up of minute triangles.

A polygon mesh of the clasp knife handle

A polygon mesh of the clasp knife handle

Detail of the transparent polygon mesh

Detail of the transparent polygon mesh

This model is transparent but when all the triangles are given a colour the object looks solid and the details of the surface contours are easier to see.

The polygon mesh filled in to produce an opaque surface

The polygon mesh filled in to produce an opaque surface

To finish the 3D image photographs of the object are applied to the surface. To do this accurately requires great skill and a good understanding of the original material.

The 3D model of the clasp knife handle textured with the high resolution photographs

The 3D model of the clasp knife handle textured with the high resolution photographs

The result is a fully rotatable, detailed and faithful representation of the original object. Have a sneek preview –

When our website goes live we hope it will operate on all platforms from PC to mobile phone, IPad to Android device. These 3D images will be at the core of the website allowing the user to examine the diagnostic identification features visible on the worked objects and also relate then to the structural features of the raw materials from which they were made.

Look out for when the first examples of the VAHT web resource go live and let us have your feedback.

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