In my initial blog post, I reflected on finding the balance between artistic and academic digital reconstructions, hoping to engage with the topic more closely throughout my project, and I am rather pleased with how it turned out.
It is nearly impossible to create strictly academic 3D models. The more I studied the archaeological drawings and measurements closely, the more discrepancies I found in the data. These discrepancies became more evident when using a precise drafting software like AutoCAD. I believe, however, that a more accurate measuring procedure (e.g. LiDAR scanning) would solve an issue like this. Archaeological drawings are a wonderful start, but they are not complete and most of them are in black and white. A lot of my reconstruction process thus involved making educated choices about the colors and placements of the paintings/mosaics/stucco since the exact arrangement of many of the decorative motifs was not recorded. However, thanks to the large number of preserved Roman wall paintings from the same era, I was able to take artistic (yet informed) liberties.
Despite some technical challenges, I would not be able to complete this project without the remote desktop access to a Windows OS computer that can run AutoCAD and 3Ds Max. Once I have completed the model, I plan to explore different lighting (day or night) and weather conditions to better understand the use of the building in 3Ds Max and V-Ray (Thank you, Ethan, for installing it for me). Participating in weekly fellowship meetings made me brainstorm ideas on how to present, share, and preserve my models long term. Now that I am at a near completion of my project, I hope I can find hosting sites that would best accommodate my research goals.
Moving forward, there are several possible directions my project can take, some of which I hope to complete as a capstone project for my Public Digital Humanities Certificate. I plan on incorporating GIS data to explore the topography and viewsheds in the model, which would potentially enhance the user experience. I would also like to develop a VR experience when creating virtual walkthroughs and to code in pop-ups in the VR, so that users can interact with the space as they move through it. Eventually I intend to feature my model on my website among other 3D reconstruction projects. I am thankful that the scholars at the Studio are more than willing to collaborate with the fellows even beyond this summer.
Being a Studio summer fellow has definitely helped me think more critically about my projects than before. Here is a video of me reflecting on the experience: