Wednesday, 14 December 2016

3D4ever Conference

I had the chance to attend the 3D4ever Conference event last week, a joint event by the Digital Preservation Coalition and Wellcome Library to encourage cultural heritage professionals to understand and undertake 3D scanning and its challenges.

Photometry workshop
I didn’t have too much experience in photometry and 3D imaging but I highly recommend it. It was amazing to see the immense range of ideas and projects discussed by the speakers and this made me realise how 3D imaging technology advancements have opened up so many opportunities for museums and the heritage sector. As professionals, we must study and promote this evolving technology because it brings exciting opportunities to research and also to engage in new ways with our audiences.

William Kilbride, Executive Director
of the Digital Preservation Coalition
I was inspired by the workshops and talks, and during the day I was developing ideas in my mind which I could take back to my own workplace and utilise in future projects. I think the key message I took home, which all the speakers touched on, was the challenges of creating, sharing and preserving 3D data. I found the whole day very productive, and especially the workshop about photometry given by Sophie Dixon and Edward Silverton which showed us a brilliant approach of how to set up a studio with the minimum amount of equipment necessary to complete the full 3D imaging process.

For me, one of the most striking statements of the conference came from Stuart Jeffrey from Glasgow School of Art, who said, ‘we need to have open access to data and share those experiences but it is important to find a balance between full access and low access.’

Stuart Jeffrey Research Fellow in International Heritage Visualisation at 
the School of Simulation and Visualisation of the Glasgow School of Art
Another key speaker was Helen Hardy, Digital Collections Programme Manager at Natural History Museum. Helen spoke brilliantly about the importance of data preservation and brought to the audience the challenge of joining up natural history data from around the globe.

For example, it’s important for archaeologists to share their findings. Anthony Corns technology Manager at The Discovery Programme showed us his 3D models of Ireland's iconic sites and objects.

After this amazing presentation, I realised the importance of this new technology in the study of material remains and how difficult it was few years ago to share these objects, until the arrival of new visual platforms like Sketchfab which gives instant access of the 3D models, creating a new experience for the public and allows archaeologists to compare objects instantly.

I can summarise the day with a good remark from one presentation: ‘Be as liberal as possible with 3D data, as great things can be done with it. Otherwise it'll go stale.’

You can find more information related to the conference through the 3D4ever hashtag 

Francisco Castanon
Transforming Archives trainee

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