Earlier in the semester, I had been thinking about the challenges of incorporating sensory research into 3D modeling with a goal in mind to complete a 3D digital model of an artificial cave in a Roman villa, one of my case studies for my dissertation. Throughout the semester, I had a different set of challenges, which I did not realize were all part of the process, and from these challenges, I learned three important lessons.
The first lesson is that my project would not come into fruition without my consultation with one of my dissertation committee members, who imparted me with his knowledge on architectural modeling of complex ancient structures. I recall spending 7 long hours on modeling a ribbed, half-dome and failing to do so after creating over 20 different models that appeared nothing like the ancient dome that I was attempting to replicate. I was able to create a half-dome close to the original structure after the discussion with my professor, which reminded me that collaboration and incorporation of a set of different voices into a project are critical to the success of the project.
My multiple attempts and failures to recreate the ancient half-dome also taught me a second lesson, which is the importance of learning from the process. By creating over 40 different models of the structure, I have gained a more intimate knowledge of the complexities in ancient architectural constructions than I would have just from studying the floor plans and/or cross-section plans of the structure. I also find comfort in learning—after reading a few journal articles—that several art and architectural historians as well as engineers have also been running into the same issues and trying to answer the same questions I had about the architecture of this complex dome through digital modeling.
The final lesson I learned is about setting realistic goals regarding large ambitious projects, taking into account technical obstacles that may potentially arise. While I was able to create a 3D model, I am still waiting for access to a rendering plug-in that I need to create my final product. I lost access to Adobe Suite for a few weeks, but thanks to the Digital Studio (cheers, Ethan!), I regained my access to create textures required for the model. I learned that no project is final, and I am grateful that I have a long-term support beyond this digital capstone course for continuing and completing this project for my dissertation.