We all know how hokey those funky paper glasses with the red and blue plastic “lenses” look on your face. We also can’t help but grip our seats just a bit tighter as the action hero busts through the wall and appears to enter the theater. Who doesn’t love the thrill and excitement of 3D entertainment?
While you may think that the 3D hype bubble has finally burst or argue that 3D is ruining movies, you can’t help but be in awe when you realize that 3D film is 90 years old! The earliest confirmed 3D film for a paying audience played at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles back in 1922 (it was called “The Power of Love,” you can wiki this tidbit here). Based on the principles of stereographic photography, 3D enhances viewing pleasure and it can be used for science!
Enter 123D Catch. This simple software allows a user to capture multiple digital images of a stationary object, stitch them together in the “cloud,” and generate a realistic 3D model. The software and ones like it have an incredible upside for museum collections and archaeological projects. Museums can take photographs of their objects (which they do anyway) and then create 3D models that can be displayed online allowing research to remotely access them or visitors to look at them from miles away. It’s almost as if the artifacts are actually in your hands!
To test the software, I used one of the replica pots here in the living room of our field house in Barranca. I took 51 photos in total, trying to capture all sides with consistent photographs (in terms of exposure and focus settings). The software recommends using at least 50 photos in order to ensure proper overlap, but no more than 70 otherwise you’ll be stitching for days. I’ve posted the final result on YouTube, in the Videos section of the website, and below:
In my opinion, the only downside to their entire process was the software’s navigation controls which were cumbersome and difficult to master. It took me quite a long time to select the proper keyframes to create the video. However, the 3D effect speaks for itself! Who ever said 3D isn’t cool?!