Graham and I recently started working with History Professor Susannah Ottoway in hopes of starting a new 3D Workhouse project. From her experience, students tend to learn much more effectively through visual means, and accordingly, she dreams to create a 3D model of workhouses, incorporating her lifetime research on social networking in 18th century England.
An existing site containing 3D historical models is the Centering Spenser website (http://core.ecu.edu/umc/Munster/) made by East Carolina University. Viewing this site as a model example (pardon the pun), we decided to have a Skype call with the Spenser creators from East Carolina University, to learn about their process and timeline.
Unsurprisingly, setting up a website with 3D models is huge and daunting – Centering Spenser took five years to initially create, and is still undergoing continual changes. Compared to us, East Carolina University already had a ton of resources for 3D modeling projects, like a pre-existing animation program teaching Maya to students. Perfect. A selection of animation students then hopped on the Spenser project, creating 3D architecture and models. Their process in creating the site was more organic and unstructured, letting the project go its way.
Awesome. We, on the other hand, are starting from scratch – it’ll be difficult, but hopefully possible. We’ve narrowed the project down to starting off with modeling just one room, or one corner of a room. Considering different types of 3D modeling software (Maya, Blender, Inventor, Sketch-Up), we are currently experimenting with their usabilities and how they match with our skills, along with prices and our (little) funding. Looking at other nearby schools, St. Olaf and U of M may also have 3D programs or experience… so, possible collaboration! Exciting! In the meantime, we’re also compiling images and information of objects and artifacts in 18th century England, to use as texture in 3D models. We’ll see where things go from here!