Have 3D scanner, will travel!

We have another exciting project this week!  We packed up the ShapeGrabber 3D scanner in the YDC2 Imaging Lab and set up shop temporarily at the Yale Center for British Art where Ruggero Pintus and Ying Yang, Postdoctoral Fellows for the Computer Science department, performed 3D scans of a marble bust of the esteemed poet Alexander Pope.

3D laser scanners are best for capturing surface topography.  The scanner passes a laser beam over an objects surface rapidly to take measurements from many location points on the object.  The resulting dense grid of 3D points is called a ‘point cloud’.  This ‘point cloud’ requires post processing to convert it into a useable format.   An accurate 3D reconstruction can help authenticate works of art and can be a valuable tool for conservators.

The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) and Waddesdon Manor (the Rothschild Foundation and the National Trust) are co-organizing a major exhibition on the sculptural images of Alexander Pope, which will open at the YCBA in spring 2014 and at Waddesdon Manor in summer 2014.  The focus of the exhibition will be the series of busts of Pope made by the French émigré sculptor Louis Francois Roubiliac. The exhibition will assemble the signed and documented versions of Roubiliac’s busts of Pope, which span the years from 1738 to 1760, as well as a number of the adaptations and copies that were modeled after them.

By performing 3D scans of all of the busts, the YCBA’s aim is to explore not only the complex relationship between these various versions but also to shed new light on the hitherto little understood processes of sculptural production and replication in eighteenth-century Britain. The project offers a unique opportunity to study the objects side by side, both visually and technically, revealing similarities and differences in handling, surfaces, dimensions, construction, and materials.

The ShapeGrabber packed and all ready to go to the Yale Center for British Art to begin scanning!

Ruggero Pintus rotates the bust of Alexander Pope a few degrees so that the camera can acquire a new scan.

The scanner is placed level with the bust to get straight on scans of the bust.

Close up of the laser sweeping over the bust as it completes a scan.

Ying Yang checks to make sure the new angle of the laser is capturing the data from the underside of the bust. By lowering the scanner and angling the laser up, scans of the underside of the shoulders, chin, nose and ears of the bust can all be captured. The data in these scans will then be aligned with the data from the scans taken with the camera level with the bust.

Ruggero looks on as the laser acquires data from scans of the top of the bust. By moving the scanner to a higher position, the laser is now able to scan the top of the shoulders and the head of the bust. The scans of these areas will be added to the scans from the other two positions and will be compiled into a digital 3D rendering of the Pope bust.

Ying and Ruggero align and combine all of the scans to produce a 3D image of the bust.

1 thought on “Have 3D scanner, will travel!

  1. Dear Team – I am an independent Scholar and have done very detailed work on the busts of Pope – I would be most grateful; if you would contact me.

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