February 2021: Digital Imaging Comparative Material Study Through an Autodesk Collaboration
Parallel to the development of the SCAPP-bot at Autodesk, the Techne team is working to better understand best practice digital imaging based on artifacts of varying materials. Methodologically, this includes testing applications of photogrammetry, structured light scanning, and laser scanning on different types of material culture ranging from ceramics, metals, stone, and glass. Each application is also being evaluated to determine the best individual method for scanning these varied types of materials, this includes understanding patterning and processing.
The SCAPP-bot provided a launching point for this study. The accurate and measured datasets produced through the SCAPP photogrammetry modeling inspired an evaluation of other applications. To further this comparative testing the Brandeis Techne Group received a generous equipment loan from the Autodesk Boston Technology Center to bring the FARO Edge Laser Scanning Arm to CLARC (Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection)at Brandeis for artifact scanning. This loan provided an opportunity to conduct scan numerous different types of material culture (metal, ceramic, glass, stone, etc.) as a data-set while noting scanning processes, and evaluating several different software platforms. Alexandra Ratzlaff, Ian Roy, and Nicole Constantine set up the laser scanner in CLARC and scanned artifacts that have already been modeled through photogrammetry with the SCAPP-bot or with the Artec Eva and Spider structured light scanners. This provided a diverse dataset of artifacts imaged and modeled through multiple technologies and methodologies. In addition to testing these different technologies for best practice, the Techne group also tested several different types of software for processing. Ultimately, our group determined that the software platform 3D Systems DesignX Wrap was optimal for both scanning processing. We also found that there was a void for basic full-process from scanning through modeling of objects available as open-access online. As part of our own scanning experiment the Techne group recorded workflow instructional videos to both document our own process but to share with others interested in using the same methodology. Please see the video here of Ian Roy demonstrating the FARO laser arm in scanning an artifact and processing it in Wrap.
The FARO laser arm loan from Autodesk represents the advantages of such research and corporate partnerships. The array of equipment available to the Techne team at Autodesk allows our team to approach problem-based research with less boundaries. This project also exemplified the types of work our team is excelling at during the COVID pandemic. By designing and executing small-scale manageable projects that can be broken in into components for individual group members to execute and bring together for analysis and collaboration.
-Brandeis Classics Professor Alexandra Ratzlaff