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From pixel to mesh: accurate and straightforward 3D documentation of cultural heritage from the Cres/Lošinj archipelago

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Abstract
Most people like 3D visualizations. Whether it is in movies, holograms or games, 3D (literally) adds an extra dimension to conventional pictures. However, 3D data and their visualizations can also have scientic archaeological benets: they are crucial in removing relief distortions from photographs, facilitate the interpretation of an object or just support the aspiration to document archaeology as exhaustively as possible. Since archaeology is essentially a spatial discipline, the recording of the spatial data component is in most cases of the utmost importance to perform scientic archaeological research. For complex sites and precious artefacts, this can be a di€cult, time-consuming and very expensive operation. In this contribution, it is shown how a straightforward and cost-eective hard- and software combination is used to accurately document and inventory some of the cultural heritage of the Cres/Lošinj archipelago in three or four dimensions. First, standard photographs are acquired from the site or object under study. Secondly, the resulting image collection is processed with some recent advances in computer technology and so-called Structure from Motion (SfM) algorithms, which are known for their ability to reconstruct a sparse point cloud of scenes that were imaged by a series of overlapping photographs. When complemented by multi-view stereo matching algorithms, detailed 3D models can be built from such photo collections in a fully automated way. Moreover, the software packages implementing these tools are available for free or at very low-cost. Using a mixture of archaeological case studies, it will be shown that those computer vision applications produce excellent results from archaeological imagery with little eort needed. Besides serving the purpose of a pleasing 3D visualization for virtual display or publications, the 3D output additionally allows to extract accurate metric information about the archaeology under study (from single artefacts to entire landscapes).
Keywords
IBM (Image-Based Modelling), MVS (Multi View Stereo), Cultural heritage, Croatia, 3D, Computer vision, PhotoScan, SfM (Structure from Motion)

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Chicago
Verhoeven, Geert, Nives Doneus, Michael Doneus, and Seta Štuhec. 2015. “From Pixel to Mesh: Accurate and Straightforward 3D Documentation of Cultural Heritage from the Cres/Lošinj Archipelago.” In Izdanja Hrvatskog Arheološkog Društva, ed. Zrinka Ettinger Starčić and Domagoj Tončinić, 30:165–176. Zagreb: Hrvatsko arheološko društvo - Lošinjski muzej.
APA
Verhoeven, G., Doneus, N., Doneus, M., & Štuhec, S. (2015). From pixel to mesh: accurate and straightforward 3D documentation of cultural heritage from the Cres/Lošinj archipelago. In Z. Ettinger Starčić & D. Tončinić (Eds.), Izdanja hrvatskog arheološkog društva (Vol. 30, pp. 165–176). Presented at the Istraživanja na otocima, Zagreb: Hrvatsko arheološko društvo - Lošinjski muzej.
Vancouver
1.
Verhoeven G, Doneus N, Doneus M, Štuhec S. From pixel to mesh: accurate and straightforward 3D documentation of cultural heritage from the Cres/Lošinj archipelago. In: Ettinger Starčić Z, Tončinić D, editors. Izdanja hrvatskog arheološkog društva. Zagreb: Hrvatsko arheološko društvo - Lošinjski muzej; 2015. p. 165–76.
MLA
Verhoeven, Geert, Nives Doneus, Michael Doneus, et al. “From Pixel to Mesh: Accurate and Straightforward 3D Documentation of Cultural Heritage from the Cres/Lošinj Archipelago.” Izdanja Hrvatskog Arheološkog Društva. Ed. Zrinka Ettinger Starčić & Domagoj Tončinić. Vol. 30. Zagreb: Hrvatsko arheološko društvo - Lošinjski muzej, 2015. 165–176. Print.
@inproceedings{6923627,
  abstract     = {Most people like 3D visualizations. Whether it is in movies, holograms or games, 3D (literally) adds an extra dimension to conventional pictures. However, 3D data and their visualizations can also have scienti\unmatched{007f}c archaeological bene\unmatched{007f}ts: they are crucial in removing relief distortions from photographs, facilitate the interpretation of an object or just support the aspiration to document archaeology as exhaustively as possible. Since archaeology is essentially a spatial discipline, the recording of the spatial data component is in most cases of the utmost importance to perform scienti\unmatched{007f}c archaeological research. For complex sites and precious artefacts, this can be a di{\texteuro}cult, time-consuming and very expensive operation.
In this contribution, it is shown how a straightforward and cost-e\unmatched{0081}ective hard- and software combination is used to accurately document and inventory some of the cultural heritage of the Cres/Lo\v{s}inj archipelago in three or four dimensions. First, standard photographs are acquired from the site or object under study. Secondly, the resulting image collection is processed with some recent advances in computer technology and so-called Structure from Motion (SfM) algorithms, which are known for their ability to reconstruct a sparse point cloud of scenes that were imaged by a series of overlapping photographs. When complemented by multi-view stereo matching algorithms, detailed 3D models can be built from such photo collections in a fully automated way. Moreover, the software packages implementing these tools are available for free or at very low-cost. Using a mixture of archaeological case studies, it will be shown that those computer vision applications produce excellent results from archaeological imagery with little e\unmatched{0081}ort needed. Besides serving the purpose of a pleasing 3D visualization for virtual display or publications, the 3D output additionally allows to extract accurate metric information about the archaeology under study (from single artefacts to entire landscapes).},
  author       = {Verhoeven, Geert and Doneus, Nives and Doneus, Michael and \v{S}tuhec, Seta},
  booktitle    = {Izdanja hrvatskog arheolo\v{s}kog dru\v{s}tva},
  editor       = {Ettinger Star\v{c}i\'{c}, Zrinka and Ton\v{c}ini\'{c}, Domagoj},
  isbn         = {978-953-6335-07-7},
  keyword      = {IBM (Image-Based Modelling),MVS (Multi View Stereo),Cultural heritage,Croatia,3D,Computer vision,PhotoScan,SfM (Structure from Motion)},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Veli Lo\v{s}inj},
  pages        = {165--176},
  publisher    = {Hrvatsko arheolo\v{s}ko dru\v{s}tvo - Lo\v{s}injski muzej},
  title        = {From pixel to mesh: accurate and straightforward 3D documentation of cultural heritage from the Cres/Lo\v{s}inj archipelago},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2015},
}