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Thursday, August 31, 2017 - Formwerk3D helps 3D scan rare bust of Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten | 3D Printer News & 3D Printing News

Aug 30, 2017 | By Tess

Up until now, if you wanted to set your eyes upon the rare Ancient Egyptian bust of Akhenaten you would have had to bustle through a crowd at Hannover's Museum August Kestner and peer past a casing of protective glass. Now, however, thanks to 3D scanning technologies, you don't even have to make the trip to Germany to see the stunning artwork.

The bust, which was found with a limestone crown, dates back to the 18th dynasty, when Akhenaten was Pharaoh of Egypt. Speculation about the bust, found in the ruins of Hermopolis, reveal that it was probably from the late stages of Akhenaten's reign, and depicts the pharaoh as a young man.

In collaboration with local 3D printing service Formwerk3D, the German museum recently undertook a project to digitally scan and capture the pharaoh's ancient bust. To complete the scans, the Formwerk3D team used a variety of 3D scanning equipment, including Artec's Eva-M structured light 3D scanner, photogrammetry, and RTI.

As the digital capture team explained, the lower-resolution Artec scanner was used to reproduce the bust in real dimensions, which helped to scale the other scans. Photogrammetry was used to capture high-resolution images of the bust, which were stitched together and processed at Formwerk3D's office.

RTI, or Reflectance Transformation Imaging, was used to capture a finely detailed surface relief (they describe it as a 2.5D model) of the bust. This method involves setting up a stationary camera in front of the object and having a bright light pass over the object, gradually illuminating every part of the bust. As the camera captures every stage of the illumination, the resulting images can be processed together to form a highly detailed surface model of the artwork.

RTI scanning

3D scanning offered the museum a way to digitally preserve the famous and delicate bust in a completely non-invasive way. As Formwerk3D says, it was able to complete all the scans of the bust in just a few hours, which meant that the Ancient Egyptian artefact could be returned to its armored casing quickly.

The 3D scans of the Akhenaten bust, like many 3D models of artefacts, can be used for a number of applications. For instance, the digital 3D model can allow for multiple researchers—from anywhere in the world—to simultaneously examine Akhenaten's bust in great detail without waiting to visit the original.

Additionally, the 3D scans will make it possible to examine details of the bust up close without risking any damage to the original artefact. Researchers are also able to make new renderings and images of the bust without having to move or alter the original bust in any way.

The museum also has the option of putting the 3D model of the Egyptian bust online, giving people everywhere the ability to view the stunning portrait without having to travel across the world.

"These models can be displayed in a platform-independent manner, thus attracting visitors to the originals," says Formwerk3D on its website. "In addition to purely visual presentation possibilities, these online models can be provided with written and acoustic annotations in order to always provide the correct context."

The 3D model can also be presented in the museum space as well, as it could offer visitors an interactive and in-depth way of seeing all angles of the ancient bust, all while looking at the original piece. Other possible applications include making tactile 3D prints of the bust for the visually impaired, and 3D printing miniatures of it to be sold in the gift shop.

The Museum August Kestner is getting in on a recent museum trend of capturing ancient artefacts and famous artworks using high-definition 3D scanning technologies. In Japan, an effort is being made to preserve Buddhist statues and other cultural artefacts with 3D scanning, while the technology has also helped to digitally recreate ancient monuments destroyed by ISIS in Syria.



Posted in 3D Scanning

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