Professor Bernard Frischer, Director of the Rome Reborn project, writes us with an update:
We have just posted on Vimeo an animation (length: 7:10 minutes, DVD-quality) which shows the current state of the project. It can be seen at no cost at: http://www.vimeo.com/15808133
If, as I hope, you continue to support the project's goals, I would be grateful if you would click on the "heart" icon in the upper right-hand part of the screen and make it one of your "likes."
Our digital model of Rome in the year A.D. 320 is a work in progress. We are currently reviewing the model to correct archaeological flaws; and we are studying ways to make it possible to run this enormous model (650 million polygons) in real-time over the Internet.
Meanwhile, I am happy to report that the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, which now hosts Rome Reborn, has recently received funding for all five of the new 3D modeling projects for which it applied to the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These include:
- "Creating a 'Total Environment' for the 'Caligula' in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts." This is a two-year, collaborative research grant with participants from the Met, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Vatican, and, of course, the VMFA to scan, model, reconstruct, and recontextualize in its ancient setting the portrait of the Emperor Caligula in Richmond, VA. (NEH RZ-51221-10: $180,000).
- "Enabling the Use of Virtual Worlds for Research and Teaching in Archaeology." This is a three-year project to convert my CAD model of Hadrian's Villa to a Virtual World platform and then use it in two graduate courses and one undergraduate class in the 2012-13 academic year. (NSF IIS-1018512: $499,990.)
- "New Digital Tools for Restoring Polychromy to 3D Digital Models of Sculpture." This is a one-year grant to create a web browser that supports the display of 3D models of sculpture with color. A method whereby the end-user can add color to the digital models will also be developed. The testbed is the famous portrait of Augustus in the Vatican Museums. (NEH HD-51022: $48,549).
- "Reconstructing Cities from Photographs." This is a three-year grant to create a 3D digital model of contemporary Rome from millions of freely available online photographs on websites such as Flickr. We will then add the fourth dimension of time by using historic photographs and artists' views from earlier centuries as well as the Rome Reborn 1.0 model of fourth-century A.D. Rome to add earlier phases in the city's history. This is a $1 million collaborative grant with computer scientists at the University of Washington and Cornell University. (NSF IIS-0963657: $239,000 [our share]).
- "SAVE: Serving and Archiving Virtual Environments." This is a one-year supplemental grant following on two earlier grants the purpose of which was to establish the need for and characteristics of an online service supporting scholars' publication of peer-reviewed 3D models of cultural heritage artifacts and related articles and monographs. (NSF IIS-1014956: $49,999).