Factum Foundation is excited to announce it will be working with Autodesk, using Memento software (soon to be released commercially under the name ‘Autodesk® ReMake) to implement and improve the application of high-resolution photogrammetry in the digitisation of objects of our cultural heritage. Memento is an end-to-end solution for converting captured reality input (photos or scans) into high-definition 3D meshes that can be cleaned, fixed and optimized for further reverse engineering, digital workflows or CNC fabrication/3D printing, for viewing on the Web. Learn more here.
Image: render of work done recently in Sir John Soane 's Museum recording the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I - the images are being processed using Memento.
This is a low resolution test image of a section of the West wall of the Hall of Beauties in the Tomb of Seti I. This recording marks the beginning of a dramatic phase in the Theban Necropolis Project. In Egypt now are Carlos Bayod (who leads, among other things, the Lucida Project) and Aliaa Ismail (who is the first of the Egypt team to be trained in Madrid to spearhead the local work). The Tomb of Seti I is probably the most important in the Valley of the Kings and its recording has been a dream for Adam Lowe and Factum for a long time - the Tomb has been closed for well over 25 years in order to protect it. It is the Foundation's intention, with your help, to record the interior surface in high resolution 3D to make certain this dramatically important artefact in our heritage will be recorded but also that the raw data will be stored for future, more advanced, generations to research and analyse. The data will enable us to make, as with Tutankhamun's much smaller tomb (wall area 70m² compared with Seti's over 3,000m² relief surfaces), a replica to be installed near the Tutankhamun facsimile adjacent to the Carter House and below the hill where the domed Hassan Fathy designed Stoppelaere's House is being converted into a training Centre for local people by the Foundation.
To know more about the Foundation, read the book explaining the aims and work being carried out in collaboration with Factum Arte.
Triumphal Claims: Palmyra
On April 19th a severely reduced scale impression of part of the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra was shown to the press in Trafalgar Square in London.
While we are pleased that the terrible damage to the original in Syria is being highlighted - and indeed the risk to all of our cultural heritage - we are concerned that this particular 'media spectacular' exhibited a very poor example of reproduction of part of the Arch structure. This replica was apparently routed in Egyptian marble using a 3D model which was derived from relatively low resolution photographs, resulting in the routed stone having a smoothed and even surface. We have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to get any real detail of the process and technology used in the recording or the accuracy of this work. We believe absolutely that anyone engaged in cultural preservation should share all their knowledge and technology openly, as we do, to help others who wish to do similar work or to advance our understanding of the process.
This lack of information, and what looks like poor quality in itself should not be too worrying - any recording is better than none - but we feel there are questions that need to be answered so that we fully can understand this process in order to evaluate it. We would also like to comment if we feel that there are elements, processes, connections and even hyperbole that we would question. You will find a brief analysis here based on the little data that has been made available, our inspection of the object and our knowledge of the issues - we have also reproduced a brief review (and Opinion piece) of the various technologies that have been mentioned by the presenters which we complied when the first reports from IDA were surfacing about their intentions and the 'new' technology to be used.
We would also like to raise another question that is very important - the Mayor of London, who officially and very publicly hosted the event for the press said it 'shows two fingers to Isis' and the Institute for Digital Archaeology (whose work the impression is) are now proposing to stage the event again in New York. These people are linking the terrible events in Palmyra to the destruction of the twin towers. To make bellicose statements and to attract attention like this is, we feel, poor judgment - the recording of evidence of man's artistic and cultural depth will not be made easier by this sort of spectacular media event and nor will attracting people with skills, enthusiasm and also funding to the painstaking, accurate (and sometimes perilous) work of recording and preserving our heritage - which must be done using the most advanced technologies available. This is what the Foundation does.
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