I was fortunate enough to be involved in a wonderful, experimental seminar at Duke called Wired! New Representational Technologies, co-led by Sheila Dillon, Caroline Bruzelius, Mark Olson, Rachael Brady, and Raquel Salvatella de Prada. The purpose of the seminar was to explore how art historians can make use of new digital media in their research and in the classroom. One aim, however, was to go "beyond the cool;" that is, to discover if these technologies were practical for academic research. We discovered that indeed thay are. Using Google Earth to map archaeological find spots, employing Google SketchUp and a groundplan to build a 14th century AD church that no longer exists (never has so much time been spent contemplating roof lines!), using Photoshop to recreate sculptural landscapes - all useful research and pedagogical tools. (See my profile for the website of my group's final project on the Hadrianic Baths at Aphrodisias.)
I plan to go forward with the use of digital technologies in my work. This semester, I will be employing SketchUp and perhaps Maya to recreate the Athenian Agora c. 450 BCE to explore the relationship between the architectural sculpture of the Hephaisteion and the Tyrannicides of Kritios and Nesiotes. It became clear to us last semester, however, that it is difficult to address the three-dimensionality of sculpture within these media, especially working mainly from photos. One idea was to use Photo 3D to create a digital mesh, using a person posing as the statue would have been. If anyone has experience with this, or has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate the input. This project is still in the planning stages, but I will update as it progresses.