How should the 3D models be used?
The 3D scans are there to enhance the typical forms of archive digitization (2D scans) so that the user can further exerpeince the collection. They are created to interact with, to orient yourself with the idea of space, and not necessarily for display only. Accompanying these models is a series of photographs and sometimes 2D scans, to better represent the details and physicality of the object.
How do the 3D models relate to the rest of the Fluxus collection?
In most of these cases, simply photographing the object would not do justice to the experience or 3-dimensionality of the artifacts. We hope, with the inclusion of 3D models, photos, videos and 2D scans, to capture the essence of the physical object. That being said, there really is no replacement for one-on-one interaction with the physical object that is allowed in the University of Iowa Special Collections. The models are by no means meant to replace the experience or act as a facsimile of the physical, but they are meant to augment and enhance the digital collection.
Why do the 3D models look the way they do? Why aren’t they perfect?
Fluxus art objects were created with the philosophy that the objects physical aesthetics were secondary to affordability and available space. They were meant to be valued “as is”, with a ‘here is the object, it’s beautiful in its own right, even if it is bits of rubber balloon’ mentality. The 3D renderings were created in a similar spirit. Very little fuss was involved in their creation, and great care was made to make the process space saving, and affordable.
With this mind set, sometimes, the scans do not represent the object as well as we would wish. 3D scanning is not, as yet, an exact science. Depending on the nature of the object, whether it be an organic shape, shiny, cavernous, complicated or odd (as is the wont of Fluxus objects), the scanning process varies. As a result, the programs used sometimes have difficulty rendering the objects and create imperfect reconstructions. However, we’ve tried to remain as true as we can to the object. We allow for imperfections that may occur within the physical object as well as those picked up during scanning. It is easy, when one is creating 3D models from scans or from scratch, to create ‘perfect’ or ‘pristine’ objects. But as we are trying to represent cultural heritage, which is very rarely unblemished, representing a ‘perfect’ 3D version does not seem appropriate.
As an experimental project for the University of Iowa Library and the Digital Studio for Public Humanities (DSPH), this process was also testing to see what the quality of the 3D models would be, the process involved, and the limitations and possibilities of using 3D modeling to capture the 3-dimensional cultural artifacts within the University of Iowa Library’s Special Collections. Now that we have an idea of the base requirements for 3D capture, it’s time to have some fun with it!
Click below to try out one of the 3D viewers using Flash.