Template for 3D visualisation projects and reports, v.1

Tijm Lanjouw, Jitte Waagen

February 2020

This is a template for work produced by the 4D Research Lab. The template ensures that 3D (visualisation) projects are executed and documented to generally accepted academic standards. The standards adhered to are the “The London Charter for the computer-based visualization of cultural heritage” and the “Principles of Seville, international principles of virtual archaeology”. This template is an implementation of the main principles and ideals found in these documents.

In an accompanying document (‘work quality principles’) we set out the most relevant principles for work produced by the 4D Research Lab.

1.    Basic project info

  • Name project:
  • Date (from – to):
  • Author of report:
  • Name(s) and function main project initiator(s)/client(s):
  • Name(s) executor (s): …. 4D Research Lab
  • Delivered product:
  • Where to access main outcomes/product:
  • Location and accessibility of project files:

2.    Aims and justification

Includes the following:

  • Brief overview of project context (e.g. research project, historical/archaeological period and topic)
  • What is the specific aim of the 3D visualization/documentation? (Aims & Methods, principle 2 of LC; Purpose, principle 2 of Seville). E.g. for study/answer question/testing a hypothesis, or dissemination of research results. In the latter case, also indicate audience: academic/lay public.
  • If applicable: what is/are the research question(s)?
  • Justification: considering the range of visualization and documentation methods, why is 3D visualization/documentation required? (justification, principle 2.1 of London Charter.)

3.    Documentation and research design

Documentation of the process of modelling.

In the course of documentation the terms metadata and paradata may be applied, if consistently, and respecting the following definition:

Metadata: the starting data, i.e. the ingredients

Paradata: all subsequent steps, i.e. the recipe

NB. The end stage of the modelling process results in a new product (ingredient) that receives its own metadata description when further distributed.

3.1 3D data recording, processing and analysis workflows

Applicable for 3D recording projects using any type of scanning technology, such as laser, structured light, image based modelling/photogrammetry.

Describe all steps of this process, including all the relevant settings in hard and software.

3D data acquisition procedure, include the following:

  • Properties of 3D scanner: type, model, accuracy, precision (theoretical)
  • Scanning setup/conditions: outside/inside/light conditions/atmospheric conditions/physical support installation
  • Properties of resulting point clouds/meshes/textures
  • The software used for recording
  • In case of UAS deployment, the flight form should be incorporated into the documentation

Discussion of 3D data processing methods following initial capture:

  • Software used
  • Procedures used (e.g. decimation, statistical outlier removal, mesh production etc)
  • Justification for procedures (e.g. in relation to research or visualization aims)

Discussion of 3D data analysis:

  • Software used
  • Analytical techniques used (statistical, visual)
  • Justification for chosen techniques

3.2 Virtual restoration or reconstruction workflows

Virtual restoration involves the digital modelling of gaps in 3D data similar to a way a restorer approaches a broken or fragmentary object.

Virtual reconstruction involves the reconstruction of objects that do not exist anymore, but evidence of their existence can be found in various material, visual and textual sources.

The aim is to document the sources and important steps in the reasoning that led to a certain restoration/reconstruction. The modeller/researcher should also document uncertainties and alternative possibilities where possible.

3.2.1 Methodology

Description of the general methodology or approach. These include the ‘rules’ the modeller/researcher adhered to during the process.

For instance, digital artefact restoration involves careful visual study of surfaces and surface curvatures, often aided by different surface representations in 3D visualization tools. These insights lead to hypothetical continuations of broken surfaces.

In the case of building reconstruction, certain structural principles may guide or dictate the reasoning.

3.2.2 Sources (principle 3 LC)

List of all sources, digital and non-digital directly influencing the visualization:

  • Written work
  • Drawings
  • Photos
  • Previous reconstructions
  • Specialists involved that contributed to the research (often the client)

Source criticism: brief assessment of reliability and potential bias.

3.2.3 Process description and results

This is a step by step description of important decisions, taking head of the following aspects:

  • Indicate alternative solutions to specific reconstruction problems.
  • Indicate where incongruences arise, in particular with previous ideas or reconstructions.
  • Indicate new insights resulting from the process of modelling.

Essential: make sure to document the entire process during modelling in a document including screenshots, references to sources and a description of issues and choices.

3.2.4 Conclusion

Concise description of most important results.

4.    Outputs

A suitable form has to be found for the dissemination of the results of the modelling work and the related research (LC principle 6: access). In many cases, it is just this report and the related files handed over to the client. In this case it is the client’s responsibility to further disseminate the results.

In other cases, the production of a form for dissemination is part of the project assignment. Examples are a paper in a journal, a blog on a website, a location based visualization, or a web based visualization.

In the report, discuss the following:

  • Format, type or medium of publication
  • Discuss which results are disseminated, and how
    • In the case of alternatives and uncertainties: how are these visualized/integrated?
    • How are sources dealt with: as accompanying general text, or included in the model as annotations? In the latter, how are these annotations stored (hardcoded, or in a database)?
  • Describe process of production of output. E.g. applications used, code written/modified
  • How to access outputs