Method: 3D Modeling

3D modeling is a process of creating a mathematical representation of a 3D surface or object using specialized computer software. The model generated is then a scaled representation of the actual object and can be rendered to view online without needing the specific software. (sample of modeling pictured right) 

Lauren Massari from the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) is an expert in 3D modeling (pictured left with students). She has modeled many buildings from the Academical Village using 3ds Max software. She works with Shayne Brandon (IATH) and Will Rourk (UVA Library) to often combine laser scanning data and photography with hand measurements. Many of the models take days to create, especially if brick texture or other details are involved. The goal for this class was to have the students create a basic model of the Smokehouse. Using our hand measurements and the point cloud data from Will Rourk, we were able to work in both 3ds Max and AutoCAD to determine any additional measurements needed and create a model of the Smokehouse (below right). Lauren created user guides for 3ds Max and also worked in the classroom with students on the model. In the limited time of the class, students were able to create a model of the original, square Smokehouse building. In the future, the southern addition to the building and brick texture could be added. 

3D models are beneficial. Models allow a casual observer to see a building that they might otherwise never see in person. Models of historic buildings that no longer exist can also be created, as long as previous photos or measured data exists to help create the model. There are limitations, however. Time availability is a constraint. For the students to create the model, it took about six hours worth of time that could have been done in less time with a trained person. In order to 3D model in the first place, 3D modeling software needs to be on a computer. Some of these can be free, but many are offered as a free trial, requiring the user to purchase it in order to continue using it. A powerful computer is also needed because the software uses a lot of processing power. 



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