The Art of the Museum


Material Information

The Art of the Museum
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Baksh, Michael R.
College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:


Museums are popular forms of education and entertainment for people around the world. They are beginning to incorporate more technology to display information and grab user attention. I believe that the next step in this evolution will be a completely virtual museum. Similar forms of media exist today but they are limited by constraints of time and technology. I am developing a relatively quick and efficient way to create a 3D museum and incorporate it into a videogame engine to make it user friendly and interactive. Users will be able to explore existing or fictional museums similar to the way they would modern videogame environments. This will serve as a digital database and an educational tool for many types of users. This project requires the use of many different programs to accomplish its final goal. First 3D models are created using Autodesk Maya, textures are made using Adobe Photoshop and the final product is created in the game engine Unity. A major feature of my project is the use of the Artec 3D Scanner to capture and display complex pieces of art without as much time and effort traditional 3d models would take to create. The scanner is capable of recording both a 3 dimensional mesh as well as its texture, including processing time; it takes only a few hours to scan and refine an object this way. Using these various techniques my virtual museum will have a number of different artistic and historic pieces amongst its exhibits. Of these exhibits one will be a collection of my personal work, and another will be comprised of sculptures captured with the Artec Scanner. Such a project has many different uses for a number of different people. Primarily it is designed to be a library of objects that can be viewed and studied in an unconventional manner. Making it useful for researchers that might not be able to access such works otherwise. This would allow researchers the ability to communicate ideas and findings on similar objects within their community. It can be used as an educational tool for children and other people that might not be able to physically attend an actual museum. Developing it with game mechanics in mind will make it more accepting and fun to younger audiences and they would engage in learning without realizing. Movement is controlled using a mouse and “W”,”S”, “A”, and “D” keys just like any First Person Shooter (FPS) game for the PC. Game inspired controls would be very intuitive for the younger audience, but not as much for professionals using it for as a research tool. A database function would be needed to make it easy to view and access various assets. Various game elements makes this project more intuitive to users and plays on the strengths of such mechanics to make it a stronger educational tool. Developing digital libraries of artistic and historic pieces is a good way to preserve the artifacts as well as make them available for study to a large audience. This process would be valuable for a wide variety of people. As technology continues to progress the process of digitizing assets will become easier and more common. Artifacts can be scanned and uploaded by many different people which would grow the database and be beneficent for all users. This system has the potential for many different applications but its primary goal is to make these digital works available for research and educational use.
General Note:
Digital Arts and Sciences terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the Univer sity of Florida In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts The Art of the Museum By Michael Baksh May 2013 Dr. Angelos Barmpoutis Dr. Benjamin DeVane Digital Worlds Institute Digital Arts and Sciences


Abstract Museums are popular forms of education and entertai nment for people around the world. They are beginning to incorporate more technology t o display information and grab an individual’s attention. I believe that the next ste p in this evolution will be a completely virtual museum. Similar forms of media exist today but they are limited by the constraints of time and technology. I am developing a relatively quick and efficient way to create a 3 Dimensional (3D) museum and incorporate it into a videogame engine t o make it user friendly and interactive. Users will be able to explore existing or fictional museums similar to the way they would navigate modern videogame environments. Introduction Even though museums are popular not everyone is abl e to access them for various reason. Virtual museums give access to many people who woul d otherwise not be able to benefit from them. Arranging a virtual museum like a videogame w ould be beneficial because it would use the teaching abilities of games to make it fun and engaging for all users. Creating virtual versions of existing museums or making completely new ones w ill give the opportunity to showcase pieces of work in new and interesting ways. Museums will be able to create a database of their assets in virtual reality to preserve their pieces and to allow researchers the ability to study them without being present. Digital databases of researc h assets would allow people from around the world to study material that they might not have ac cess to. Virtual museums would also be a good way for private artists to display their work in an unconventional manner. A virtual environment is especially good for people applying for jobs in the gaming or simulation industry. It would allow them to display a wide range of work and abilities in one demo package.


The primary function of this project is to capture and display 3D works in a virtual environment. This concept can be used for many diff erent implementations; one such use is as an educational resource and digital database for the p reservation of artistic and historic works. This process also has the ability to capture and display mechanical parts with astounding accuracy; this would be useful for the simulation and trainin g industries. Virtual environments have a wide range of uses for museums in particular because of their ability to archive information and make it readily available for public use (Wachowiak & Ka ras 2009). Creating a virtual environment requires movement controls that allow the user the ability to navigate and explore the desired world. I decided to model my project after a comput er videogame in terms of design and mechanics. According to the Department of Labor Sta tistics, children ages 15 to 19 spend more time participating in computer based leisure than i n educational related matters (USDL, 2012). I believe that there can be a way to incorporate educ ational values into the extracurricular activities children tend to engage in the most. My intent is to create a virtual environment that will be engaging to a diverse audience. I want to a llow people from around the world to enjoy a museum setting and learn something new in a unique and engaging manner. This program is also a good way to keep students and educators engaged i n a fun learning process by disguising it as a game. There are similar projects out there that are simil ar in design but different in execution. They succeed in certain aspects like aesthetics and fall short in others such as conception. Some people have created museums in Second Life, which is a perpetual virtual social environment where users can build things and share them with ot hers as well as interact with each other. There are many limitations to what can be implement ed by this program, which is a problem with all technology based media. Second Life brings in a social factor that is a good way to sh are


information and ideas between users. This program’s major setback is its’ inability to program interactions and also limits the amount of data tha t can be uploaded and displayed. There are other programs that are capable of much more comple xity and detail. Second Life allows users the ability to import 3D models that they make, but due to bandwidth limitations these models have to be relatively simple. Because of this, Second Life design is limited and relies on basics shapes with images projected onto it; this is good for displaying paintings or pictures but not good for 3D pieces. Google has created a method for capturing physical museum s in a similar fashion to their map program (Proctor, 2011). This process uses a movable robot affixed with multiple cameras all around it that records the vis ual data and constructs what appears to be a 3D environment. The users can explore certain historic al museums and traverse the environment by clicking and being teleported to that location. Thi s can give the appearance of a 3D environment and 3D objects but without actually having dimensio nality and the ability to view the work from multiple angles. Using these robots to record the v isual information is expensive and they have only recorded a small number of very popular museum s. It is a very useful process but not very practical for everyone to use and lacks details of other scanning methods. Other online museums use a panoramic picture that revolves from a centra l position and captures the museum from a single point which limits the user’s interactivity and immersion level. The most successful of these projects are the Guggenheim Virtual Museum and the Museum of London virtual exhibitions. These programs implement full 3D envir onments and display 2D and 3D virtual pieces. The 3D objects are reconstructions that are built using a different 3D modeling software package, the most common are Autodesk Maya 3D Studio Max Cinema 4D and Blender Creating assets with a modeling program makes for v ery good looking models but it relies on the skills of a 3D artist to recreate another artist’s work. The 3D modeling process takes a lot of time


and dedication as well as resources to accomplish. 3D scanning follows a similar process but allows for quicker capture and creation with greate r detailed accuracy. Using 3D scanners can take some time to learn and develop enough skills t o capture objects well. As the technology becomes more available it is becoming easier to use and soon nearly anyone can learn and master this process with enough practice. The scanning pro cess can be messy, but it is capable of capturing 3D objects with extreme accuracy. This is beneficial for researchers studying a particular piece and needing as much details as pos sible. I learned a lot from these projects and have incorporated some of their concepts into my pr oject. The problem was to determine what aspects to include from other similar projects and what to omit. The benefit from studying other projects allows me to imitate their strengths and r emove their weaknesses. The final goal for my project is that it not be lim ited to just displaying models for people to interact with, but also to be used as an interac tive educational tool. Most virtual environments are designed for displaying 3D historic pieces and are predominately created to show off the architecture and the pieces on display. They are no t created with the intent to be a resource for researchers or to be used as an educational tool us eful for a variety of users. The navigation method I chose to use is similar to a computer vide ogame and would be familiar and fun for younger users to interact with. A database function would give people the possibility to navigate directly to the desired work and view the object an d its information in a window interface. This would be a supplemental feature that would be usefu l for people trying to study a particular object and are not interested in superfluous inform ation. Not all users will have the same levels of competency in every area of usage. People intere sted in research would more likely use the database function and not rely on the ability to na vigate through the spaces. Student users would tend to treat the experience more like a videogame and play it as such. This particular process of


game design can be used to teach a subject such as history or art in an engaging and dynamic manner. Using 3D capture technology allows for a qu ick and precise method of digitizing objects. As the scanning technology becomes more re adily available people will be able to capture their personal works or other objects that they might want to display. Detailed models of mechanical creations can be captured by this proces s allowing for different communities to be added to the list of potential users. All of these processes work towards the goal of the preservation of art, history and technology. Allowi ng users the chance to actively participate in the development and maintenance of their communitie s facilitates its growth and worth. It also encourages collaboration and maturation for the sub ject through the sharing and facilitation of information. Creating a dynamic experience for user s to enjoy separates most of the existing programs from what I am trying to accomplish. While some designs are very well executed they lack user interactivity and interaction with the en vironment and objects. Those that do incorporate this feature have limitations in their execution and have the least amount of detail and capabilities. My project attempts to balance th e aesthetics and usability to create an environment where a user can explore, learn, and in teract with the subject matter and other users. Digitally created environments have been used very frequently this century thanks to the pioneers of the 80’s and 90’s who started the 3D re volution. Now 3D assets are used in a number of different applications and disciplines. Because 3D technology is used so widely it would be very useful to have a library of objects available for research. Museums are indispensable for the preservations and presentation of historic and arti stic artifacts. In this digital age many museums are incorporating digital displays and other intera ctive works that can grab and hold the attention of the attendants. With the constant incorporation of technological assets the next logical step would be an entirely digital environment. In these 3D spaces where people can gather and


interact with each other as well as the objects aro und them, users will be able to upload their own works for others to view and comment on. According to “Moore’s Law” technology doubles every two years and tends to get cheaper and more a vailable to the general public. With current technology it is possible to create an interactive virtual world with a small budget. It will continue to be more efficient as the technology bec omes readily available and cheaper for the regular people to obtain. People can use a variety of free programs and applications to capture and display 2D and 3D assets in an online environme nt. Such processes give people the opportunity to digitize and display their own work for any number of needs. Museums are valuable cultural assets of our modern society and I do not believe that they can be replaced by anything virtual, but they can be enhanced and supp lemented by such applications. Access to online databases is easily accomplished a nd are accessed regularly all around the world. People share information and ideas on va rious topics and subjects with the use of file sharing programs and social sites. The interaction shared in these online spaces creates communities of individuals with similar interest. C ollaborative groups are formed around communities with similar interests and goals who wo rk together to achieve a greater purpose (Black & Reich, 2012). Social spaces are not genera lly designed to be used by students for learning purposes or for professional purposes. The concept of creating a virtual museum is to bring the attraction to people who would not be abl e to access them in another way. The attendance of online museum patrons has steadily in creased over the past few years and they are valuable at preserving cultural artifacts of their community. With the availability of online resources for everyone to access whenever they want to, some museums would be better off with a digital presence to improve their accessibility. The concept of a perpetual environment has been around for many years and was pioneered by Mas sive Multiplayer Online Games (MMO)


like World of Warcraft and social spaces like Second Life These virtual worlds give people constant access to a space created to display a par ticular set of information and allows for interaction with other peers. The concept of a digi tal museum is to bring together people with common interests to share an experience. My idea is to make online museums more sociable and allow people to share the experience together and l earn from each other. These concepts can be applied to educational or research purposes. Resear chers would benefit from instantaneous communications with peers and gives them more infor mation on demand. Discerning knowledge and information can be done through many different processes but for people studying a common artifact the ability to view the piece and d iscuss it is extremely valuable. Giving access to rare or uncommon artifacts allows for people wit h limited or no access to that material a chance to view it in the best possible way without having to be physically present. Social interaction is also a valuable educational tool tha t is capable of teaching many lessons. Students can engage each other in discussions about the mate rial presented to them and while they are just idly chatting they are facilitating the learning pr ocess without being forced to do so. The voluntary action of playing in a virtual environmen t and engaging in social actions related to the experience makes play time an educational experienc e. Method Creating assets in 3D is a costly and time consumin g process. Currently the 3D capturing technologies are also relatively expensive and diff icult to operate. Handheld scanners can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and, s tationary laser scanners cost even more. There are some companies such as 3DScanCo and Laser Design Inc. that perform scanning services for a large sum and restrict the size of t he object scanned. Laser scanning is a more accurate form of scanning technology but requires t he use of specialized attachments to scan


large objects. Laser scanning is not a practical me thod for those on a low budget, but it does have its’ benefits and uses. Recently there have been so me breakthroughs in the scanning process which makes personal scanning easier and very inexp ensive. The Autodesk software company has developed an application for mobile devices tha t use the camera function to record a physical sculpture 360 degrees around and processes the imag es together to create a 3D object. The program Autodesk 123D is free to own and only costs a few dollars for so meone to export a captured model to an editable format. Other similar processes take a lot of 2D images and merge them together to form 3D representation of the capt ured images. As the technology becomes more available the cost will go down and more peopl e will be able to perform these operations. Soon we will be able to use a digital camera or sim ilar device to perform the same action. Similar functions can be achieved with the use of w eb cameras and even the Microsoft Kinect both of which are not nearly as expensive as buying your own scanner or renting one. The quality is not on par with the expensive devices cu rrently, but they are very close and are capable of capturing an accurate account of the scanned obj ect. For a fraction of the time and cost a regular person can have access to virtual scanning technology. The other technologies required to refine and display objects online are also availabl e for free or at a low cost. The generosity of companies like Autodesk to distribute free programs allows for a larger nu mber of people to have access to valuable technology that is necessary to the digital process.


(Me scanning one of my sculptures using the Artec scanning device) Creating any type of digital environment is a diffi cult endeavor that requires a lot of time and dedication. For a project like this one, a numb er of 3D assets would be scanned or created then imported into the game engine Unity After assets are brought into the game engine the n some basic programming is done to establish movemen t controls and collision detection. The process of creating objects in 3D is a tedious task that requires lots of time and patience. To accomplish this I will use the program Maya created by Autodesk Maya and its counterpart 3D Studio Max is generally very expensive and available to profe ssionals only. Autodesk has allowed students to obtain a three year license for educational purposes which gave me access to a familiar program for free. There are free version s of a similar software, namely Blender which is not industry standard but it is very popular in the private sector. 3D modeling software is used by the videogame and film industries to create comp uter generated objects and animations. I have used 3D modeling programs for many years and a m proficient in traditional box modeling and 3D sculpting using Autodesk Mudbox I use different modeling techniques to make asset s


that are later exported to function in a game engin e. Most preliminary modeling is handled in Maya is then exported to Mudbox to be sculpted and refined to the highest quality. A lot of detail can be created using a 3D sculpting program such as Mudbox or ZBrush but it requires a lot of time and attention to create; a 3D scan can do a mo re precise job in a fraction of the time. The ability to use a sculpting program is very benefici al for game and film industries but it also makes the use of the Artec program much easier and more intuitive since they share similar tool sets. The works that I created have been modeled for othe r projects and will be used as exhibits in my virtual museum. There are some custo m pieces that I created specifically for this project to show a variety of my abilities. My model s were mostly created from a single cube that was molded and sculpted into the desired object; th is process takes a lot of time and attention to detail. 3D scanning is a valuable part of this proj ect and relies on the use of an Artec 3D scanner which is an expensive piece of equipment that can s can and recreate an object in 3D requiring a lot less time and effort than traditional modeling. The Artec scanner projects an infrared grid onto an object and uses a depth camera to determine the high and low points of the object while taking a number of photographs that are used as the texture. After an object is scanned it must be processed by running the scan through a series of a lgorithms that turns the initial scan from a point cloud model to a mesh based object. Once it i s a mesh orientated object I can perform a series of clean up procedures including smoothing a nd erasing incorrect topography and rebuilding distorted parts of the mesh. Similar to traditional modeling techniques a texture is applied after the model has been created. The Artec program uses the images captured to form a seamless texture that is photorealistic. Texturing an object in this way has greater accuracy than other methods but it is difficult to export that te xture into a game engine. I avoided this problem


by applying a metallic grey material to the scanned objects which shows the user the detail and polygon topography of the object. Normally objects would be smooth and textured to show off all of the components of the object. The final ste p in the process is to bring all these assets into a game engine and program them to have interaction ca pabilities. I chose Unity a game engine developed by Unity Technologies for the ease of use and the purpose of cross-plat form game development. The Unity program has a free version that has many limitatio ns on its capabilities and a professional version that is relatively cheap and effective. For my purposes the free version is sufficient but it forces me to constrain my proj ect to the limitations presented to me. Learning Unity was easy because its interface is similar to other programs I have used. Game Engines also allow for the use of a variety of scripting languag es including Python Java script C# and many others. Coding allows for the creation of interacti on and usability. I was able to create a first person controller that simulates a person walking a nd made it controllable by mouse and keyboard combination. The user controls this unit t o move around the museum I built and view the assets that were imported and placed in the sce ne. I was then able to export my work as a standalone executable program that can be run on ma ny different computers. I have had to use other programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Crazy Bump as needed to create textures and maps. These programs are used regularly in differen t industries to manipulate and create images that are used to project an image onto a 3D object. 3D artists have to be able to use a variety of programs and have more than a basic understanding o f them to properly use them together. Some of these programs can speak to each other, this str eamlines the production process but it is still a tedious process. I have experience with creating 3D models and have been doing so for more than eight years. I have modeled a variety of objects, includ ing a human character, a car and a few


historical recreations. My modeling style relies on the use of reference images and precise measurements to recreate objects such as the HMS Lusitania and the SR-71 Blackbird which are some of the models in my museum. I know how to work within the constraints of the program to create the best possible pieces that I possibly can Though I have worked with the Artec Scanner for only two years I have learned a lot of tips, tr icks and shortcuts to operate the scanner and its accompanying software effectively. They are easy to operate, but they are difficult to master; a goal I am striving towards. I am learning new techn iques and new methods that will make the process more efficient and streamlined. My experien ces gave me the knowledge and ability to create virtual environments and objects to populate the space effectively. I have created numerous models and environments of various types f or different projects and assignments which gives me a broad range of design knowledge fo r these assets. Mostly, I enjoy creating historic works or modern mechanical objects which i s clearly visible in the type of assets in my virtual museum. I have a library of ready objects t o choose from to incorporate into the Unity game engine. To keep this project simple I did not include all of the models I created, but attempted to display a variety of works, mostly my own. Use of the Unity engine is the final step in the creation process and though I’m not an exper t at this, but I have the ability to use the engine to complete my projects. I made animated sho rts and I relied on the use of Adobe After Effects for video editing and special effects program. The post process for animation and videogames is completely different and requires a d iverse frame of mind. The two processes share similar advantages and disadvantages so I ten d to treat the similar. In creating both I have incorporated an audio element that creates a calmin g atmosphere that the player would enjoy to be in. When using a game engine programming allows for the creation of intractability and realtime physics. Interaction is the major advantage th at videogames have over other forms of media.


Learning how to use the program is easy because of the extensive online community and plethora of training material available for free. I t takes a lot of time and dedication to learn and apply these skills in any scenario. ( Autodesk Maya and the models that I have included into my projec t) I have experience with a number of various programs for pre-production, production and post-production work. I digitally created many his torical works, including a Roman style Ballista and a conceptualization of the Hagia Sophi a Mosque in Istanbul. Some of my other works include the reconstruction of modern airplane s and other mechanical devices. Along with some paintings and 3D scans I want to show as many different styles as the Unity editor can handle and display without crashing. My objects hav e their own places on display within various rooms of the digital museum. This gives me a way to show my work to potential clients or employers in a distinctive fashion. On display will also be some scans of various objects, some are my sculptures and some of the 3D scans were cre ated by the Artec group and is available on their website. Complicated sculptured or mechanical objects are notoriously difficult to create


and require a lot of time and effort to produce acc urately. Using 3D capture software the process of recording and refining objects requires only a f raction of the time and creates a very detailed model. The Artec scanner is capable of scanning an object using mul tiple passes to capture it from many different angles. If an object is very la rge it will require multiple scans from different angles. Those scans are refined using a few complic ated algorithms and then aligned by setting anchor points and destination coordinates. The scan s are then merged together to form a 3D mesh and finally has a texture applied to it. Simil ar processes can replicate an ornate object with astounding accuracy, which is very important when i maging detailed historic artifacts. Scanned models are not perfect and require some refining an d polishing to be able to import into a game engine. Models scanned are never as refined and smo oth as something created through traditional modeling but because of time restrictions, scanned meshes can capture minute details quickly and easily. Displaying these artifacts with the cor rect accuracy requires a program capable of handling multiple computing factors. Such factors i nclude the calculation of “normal maps” which takes into account of the angle and direction of light and bends it according to the contours of the displayed object. Depiction of comp lex assets in games and movies rely on this process that reduces the amount of rendering time i t takes to calculate and display every object in a scene. Light effects are necessary to create a re alistic illusion; unfortunately the free version of Unity does not allow me to cast shadows since that rende r process is only available in the pro version. Game engines are designed to work with pol ygon models and are capable of creating real-time dynamics, physics and interaction.


( Artec Studio displaying a 3D scan of my narrative sculpture) Using 3D modeling programs I can create any design wanted as a medium to display assets. Since this is my first attempt of creating an intractable virtual environment, I decided that it would be best to stick to the basics and have a working product. The layout of my museum is simple by any standards but is easy to navigate and an efficient design to showcase all of the models that I would like. My design is a wheel and spoke layout with exhibits on the end of each branch. This simple layout is mainly to determine i f it can work and for convenience. I included a diagram of the layout for users to follow but it is not necessary since it is designed to be as easy and straight forward as possible. Keeping the desig n of the museum simple allows me to have some very complex models in the scene without creat ing long loading times. Some interesting settings for a virtual museum would be an outdoor e nvironment populated with computer generated foliage which could be an artistic instil lation in itself. Since virtual environments do not need to abide by the laws of physics any design or imagined creation can be built, even a surrealistic setting that could not exist in real-l ife. Another possibility is to reconstruct an


archeological site and have it populated with artif acts found at the site. A site such as the tomb chambers of the Pharos could be easily laid out and populated with scans or reconstructions of the objects found at that location. Recording techn iques like this would be very useful for researchers trying to keep their work organized and orderly while maintaining the maximum amount of accuracy. A deep level of emersion would give users the ability to step into the shoes of the people actually there or even the people tha t created it. Interaction and sociability are popular ways to get students interested in learning It is also a popular method of data organization and retrieval. Social communities desi gned around period themes would be useful tools for studying, especially if populated with ar tifacts of the time. For professional users no scene view would be necessary just an index of asse ts and a way to view them 360 degrees and be able to zoom in/out. Many programs or scripting languages could accomplish this but game engines are designed to run complex models with lig hts and textures. Using these features as well as a first-person navigation tool for movement controls allows for an interactive and immersive environment. The main focus of my project is to display the assets in an interesting manner that can be used and enjoyed by a variety of people. I drew inspiration from many sources for the look and feel of my environment but mainly from my favorite works and museums. The Guggenheim and Museum of London were my greatest inspirations for the color pallet and layout design. I used a simple color sch emes with black, white and grey tones extensively. I believe a simple color scheme takes focus away from the environment and draws attention to the colorful and design intensive obje cts. Even some of the 3D models have simple textures applied to them to but they are so detaile d that the user focuses on the model instead of the color. I have included some paintings and drawi ngs done by famous artists to illustrate the ability to reproduce historical pieces and display them effectively. Game engines are so useful


because they can apply a “bump map” to the painting based on a grayscale version of the image; this simulates positive and negative space on a sur face and can give the illusion of brush strokes on the canvas. Details like these are necessary to create a realistic illusion that aids in the understanding and evaluating the complex details an d nuances of any artifact. Virtual museums are best published online to make t hem readily available for people to use. Access and availability of online resources ma kes it a perfect platform for research and education purposes. The ability to access my digita l museum would be great for online use but I made it so that it can be downloaded and ran withou t an internet connection. The ultimate goal of my project is to make it available online for peopl e to use and interact with by participating in social communities based on the content of the envi ronments. I believe Second Life is good at giving users a space for them to interact with each other and build objects and environments as they like. Second Life has declined in popularity but is still used by a variety of people and can be used as an educational tool if utilized properly (Wauters, 2009). It seems that the existing material out there is well done but each of them co uld use elements from other programs to make them better tools. My prototype incorporates some o f the elements necessary for it to be a useful educational device. The major function that it lack s is the ability to share and update information which would be a valuable addition to any research and education program. The navigation controls for my application is a bas ic setup that would be familiar to anyone who plays computer videogames. Users can mov e with the “W”, “S”, “A”, and “D” keys or the arrows on the keyboard. The mouse controls t he ability to look around and the left mouse button interacts with objects. These controls are u nderstood by younger audiences and fun for them to use. For other people who might not have as much experience with this form of navigation other forms of data visualization would be useful. Many videogames have a log of


terminology and assets that is viewable in the game as a way to gain a deeper insight into those creations. For example many of the modern Final Fan tasy games have a “Bestiary”, that is a list of all the monsters you have engaged, and allows yo u to read about their stats and information. A feature such as this would be an easy way to view a nd learn about any 3D object, making it easy to use for anyone. Displaying assets that way is ve ry efficient but quite boring and not very engaging. A database mode would be more useful for researchers when they need to access information quickly and effectively, but for other users the act of engaging the environment is part of the experience. Google has digitized some famous museums and they use a c lick and move control that warps the user to the location th at they click on. Controls like this are very interesting but lacks the same amount of interactio n traditional controls implement. ( Unity Game Engine with all my assets in the museum setting and a cam era controller) For my final publication I have released a standalo ne application that can be run on nearly any modern computer. Included is a set of va rious art works and historic pieces depicting a range of styles and techniques. Some of the model s include famous paintings from throughout


history such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper both by Leonardo da Vinci. Most of the 3D models were created by me in a 3D package or a scan of my personal sculptures. I have included some models scanned by the Artec Company to display some of the capabilities of 3D scanning technology. The artwork that is not my own is not c opyrighted and the Artec Company grants permission to display the sample work they have ava ilable free online on their website. All of these assets represent a few types of work that can be displayed in a 3D environment. Many of the 3D scans are very complex and require a lot of processing power to calculate, but the game engine Unity handles them easily. Having all these assets on di splay at once is not a problem for a standalone application but for use on the interne t, models would have to be simplified to save on loading times. In my web version all assets are loaded upon startup and can take a few seconds to load with a decent internet connection. More assets can be loaded into a scene if they are separated into multiple rooms that only appear when the player enters the area. This can be supplemented with a function that can load a high q uality render of the object upon request. This feature is very valuable but not necessarily needed when creating a virtual environment for 3D assets; it is more valuable as an organizational de vice. Also a downloadable version would allow a higher quality version and it would allow people to access certain information even if offline. This is what the standalone executable version of m y project demonstrates. For users studying various artifacts the accessibility and quality of the detail is necessary to determine a number of different factors in any given piece of work.


(Virtual Museum as seen from the game window) Results Users are able to explore my virtual museum and vie w a variety of different works in a few small exhibits. Two of these exhibits display s ome of the most famous paintings in history as well as a few of my own works. I have included a ga llery comprised of scans by the Artec Company as well as a few sculptures that I have cre ated and digitized. The rest of the museum is comprised of a few works that I have created specif ically for this museum or have created for past projects. There is also a closed wing of the m useum because it seems every time I visit a museum the exhibit that I really want to see is alw ays closed. Limitations due to time prevented me from implementing some of the optional features that I would have liked to incorporate to


determine if they worked and were viable functions. Unfortunately the free version of Unity is limited to what I could have implemented. I have de termined through my experience that it is always better to have a simple working product than a complex program that does not work properly. Because of this, I have limited the amoun t of interaction in this piece but the methodology has proven to be viable. It is possible to create a template for other museums to be created in a virtual environment. The use of scanne rs has greatly sped up the process of capturing and creating complex works digitally. Assets that c ould be digitized and uploaded to a database would not be limited to only historic and artistic pieces but other mechanical parts such as transmissions and carburetors. A database of mechan ical objects would be useful for a number of applications including displaying the products for potential buyers or students learning about the products. The training and simulation industries co uld greatly benefit from an educational database of assets that can accessed at anytime. In creasing the amount of objects in a digital library will increase the number of different users who could benefit from these applications. My goal for this project is to create a virtual mus eum displaying a variety of different assets while utilizing a scanning device and a game engine. I managed to scan and upload a number of objects using the Artec 3D scanner. I have also created a lot of material in 3D using Autodesk Maya and have implemented these assets into the Unity Game Engine. I created a standalone application and web version that can be used on any modern computer and is intended for a variety of users. Primarily it is de signed as a method to display 2D and 3D assets in a virtual environment that could be used as an e ducational tool. The movement controls and mechanics are derived from computer based videogame s and are well suited for a younger audience. Scanning and processing assets has proven to be a quick and efficient method to digitize physical objects into a virtual space. Wit h new advancements in scanning, the


technology is becoming cheaper and more readily ava ilable to everyone. Museums and other institutions would be able to digitize and upload a ssets to a virtual environment for preservation purposes and allows anyone to access them anytime. My intent is to have a space where people can study and learn about historic, artistic and me chanical objects and ideas in a fun and engaging manner. The potential uses for this type o f system can be extended to many different uses including the simulation and training industri es as well as research and documentation purposes. Digitizing various assets is technology’s way to preserve and display assets, allowing for a wide audience access to materials that are no t otherwise accessible. Virtual environments are great tools for social interaction but could be used more as an educational tool. Combining the social and educational components in an environ ment that is familiar to users is a good method to merge the concepts into a single program. Virtual museums are becoming a popular form of media and as technology progresses it is be coming easier to create them. I believe that my method of using a combination of 3D scanners, ha rd surface modeling and game engines is a very efficient and practical method of creating vir tual environments populated with a variety of digital assets. Virtual museums will be a helpful t ool for many people especially for documentation, research and educational purposes.


References 3DScanCo (2012). 3D Laser Scanning Services. Retrie ved from lid=CKjviCLsbUCFQ3nnAodEEwABQ Artec Group (2013). Artec 3D Scanners. Retrieved fr om Autodesk (2013). Imagine. Design. Create. 3D Design Engineering and Entertainment Software and Services. Retrieved from Black, R., & Reich, S. (2012). Culture and Communit y in a Virtual World for Young Children. Games, Learning, and Society Learning and Meaning i n the Digital Age, 14, 210-229. Linden Research, Inc. (1999). Second Life Your Worl d. Your Imagination. Retrieved from Microsoft Corporation (1975). Kinect for Windows. R etrieved from Museum of London (est. 1976). Virtual Tours. Retrie ved from OpenBuildings (2011). Guggenheim Virtual Museum. Re trieved from

PAGE 25 al-museum-profile-2437 Proctor, N. (2011). The Google Art Project. Curator The Museum Journal. Retrieved from Unity Technologies (2013). Unity Game Engine and he lp community. Retrieved from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012). American Ti me Use Survey Summary 2011 Results. Retrieved from s.nr0.htm Wachowiak, M. & Karas, B. (2009). 3D Scanning and R eplication for Museum and Cultural Heritage Applications. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 141-158. Wauters, R. (2009). Does Anybody Still Use Second L ife? And If So, How Much Is It Worth Today? Retrieved from -use-second-life-and-if-so-howmuch-is-it-worth-today/ WFMU Radio (2013). Free Music Archive (Beta). Retri eved from


Biographical Sketch The Designs of Michael Baksh are reflections of hi s passion for history and ancient cultures as well as futurism and high technology. H is art contrast minimalism with obsessive attention to detail. Combining simplicity and compl exity, he creates worlds of unity designed to be enjoyed by a diverse audience. Michael Baksh is a dedicated 3D modeler and animat or who has been working with 3D programs for over a decade. He is also known for cr eating dynamic sculptures and drawings that are influenced by his background as an animator. He is able to create entire worlds with a limited amount of sound, movement and story, but they can b e understood and enjoyed by a diverse audience. He was born in Queens, New York but lived most of his life in Orlando, Florida. Being influenced by both a southern and northern culture has greatly affected his designs. His parents were from a small country in South America called G uyana and coincidently his art reflects the morals and values of the former British colony. Mic hael constantly integrates other cultures and beliefs into his own personality, thus broadening h is horizons and knowledge. His interest in animation started at a young age w atching animated TV shows. Michael was introduced to 3D modeling during high school bu t honed his skills during his undergraduate and graduate college career. Implementing architect ural and mechanical designs into his body of work has created a variety of designs that reflect his personality and style. Michael strives to transcend the boundaries of traditional art and str ives to incorporate multiple styles and techniques.