New 3D Model Displays - You Choose

How should we show our new 3D models?

by Dan Walsh
November 30, 2009
CyArk would like your help determining how to best display our new 3D models. These light-weight site representations are a great visualization tool for teachers, students, and researchers, and enable exciting new opportunities to showcase sites as they were originally built. Imagine a virtual 3D reconstruction of Pompeii before Mt. Vesuvius erupted or what Chichén Itzá may have looked like during the Classic Maya Period and the value of using 3D models on becomes obvious. Because of this added value, we've begun devoting additional resources to 3D model creation. We've already had models created for us by our volunteers, and have even received a set of models that were created as part of a thesis project.

The three models shown in this post are the result of volunteer efforts. The model of the Zapotec System IV temple at Monte Albán (right) was created by our volunteer Steven Donlin. Steven is a professional modeler and came to us when he discovered that our documentation was more accurate and thorough than what he found in the US Library of Congress. New models of Fort Scott at the Spanish Presidio of San Francisco (right) are also currently being created by Tiffany Gong, one of our new and talented volunteers. Yet more models came to us from Jessica Lentner, who created a series of reconstructions of the Cathedral of Beauvais (below) as part of her thesis at Vassar. Each model shows the cathedral at different stages during its over 300-year construction.

These models have all been created using architectural drawings derived from our 3D point clouds, which ensures a high level of accuracy. In some cases floor plans and elevations began to serve as backdrops for the model. These backdrops were intended to be removed, but the more we saw the models juxtaposed against the drawings, the more we thought there might be value in including them in the finished product. This is where you come in.

We can't decide which we like better: models with drawings, or models without drawings; so we're leaving it up to you. Directly below is an example of the same model (Cathedral of Beauvais) with and without drawings.

Version A (with drawings)

Version B (without drawings)

What do you think? The drawings help provide context, but might be a bit distracting. Let us know your preference, and help shape the future of CyArk by voting in the following poll, and by leaving your thoughts or opinions in the comments below.


A work-in-progress image of the System IV model.
The completed <a href="">System IV model</a> with texturing.
Forthcoming <a href="">Fort Scott</a> model.