3D Modeling

3D Modeling and simulation is most useful in projects attempting to preserve physical structures against the effects of time or simulate changes to an object that would be otherwise inconvenient in the real world. Recreation of hypotheses would be another plausible use for this type of work, for example, modeling an idea of an ancient village and using the model to compare to the modern ruins and geographical features in order to determine it’s accuracy. One must also mention the ability of one to create media from modeling and simulations, for the simple purpose of display and/or supplementing a project.

Manual Modeling

This type of modeling is best used when trying to recreate a single item (building/object/etc.) without an extensive attention to detail. Because of its time consuming nature, taking on large projects such as cities would be painfully slow, and even then would not produce the best result without some intensive accumulating  of data (e.g. building proportions). As of my understanding of manual modeling programs so far, most are very rigid in what you can make, in terms of shapes, therefore creating very specific details is either extremely hard or takes a high proficiency in the program you would use. However, when trying to model a single building, especially if it is fairly symmetrical, this approach is quite simple even to new users.

Procedural Modeling

This technique, as we saw in class, is much more useful in the recreation of large scale projects (cities), that have little bearing to a real component. The international city provided as an example was an impressive display, and if not told otherwise I would have believed it to be a model of an actual city somewhere in the world (statistically speaking it might be, regardless). Creating a set of rules for the program to act on isn’t as time consuming especially considering the result, however, making a set of rules in order to mirror a real life example would be, as mentioned in the World’s Columbian Exposition example we saw in class. This method is also adaptable and easy to modify once you have the final product, making it a good choice for simulations of real world events on what could be considered fairly accurate depictions of cities.


Possible the most accurate modeling method, laser scanning is unfortunately limited by the hardware required for it to run. As opposed to the previous two methods, which required only a program and a computer advanced enough to run it, acquiring a laser scanner is probably expensive, and even with access to one, knowledge on how to properly use the equipment is not as intuitive (or safe) as messing around on SketchUp for a few minutes. The fact that you have to physically encompass the object you want to scan also immensely limits what types of objects you can model, and while there are likely different size scanners, the price factor grows proportionally as well. Therefore, laser scanning is best suited for detailed representations of objects.


Similar to laser scanning, this method is heavily limited by the size of what you are attempting to model. While the equipment aspect is less of a limiting factor, the work one has to put in is much more. First of all, you must possess the object you want to model, an issue if trying to do so with precious stones or museum pieces. Secondly, one must pay particular attention to the picture taking phase of the project, which requires some basic math skills and a steady hand. In this case, you reap what you sow is quite applicable, since the more pictures you take (at more angles) provides you with a more detailed result. After acquiring both the object and its pictures, the process is fairly simple, returning to the program+computer approach where one can simply follow instructions and come up with a result. Photogrammetry is detailed, yet its limits are established by size again which leaves this type of modeling best suited for objects and possibly small-scale structures.

Project Analysis

Looking through Marie Saldaña’s Modeling of Ancient Cities and Buildings, one cannot help being impressed by the scope at which Rome is pictured. From a zoomed out perspective, the model looks accurate, compared to what one would expect ancient Rome to look like, yet its the detailed aspects which are lacking. The “uncanny valley” phenomenon comes to mind a lot when taking into account procedural modeling, since many times it might look real, but there are certain elements you can’t quite pinpoint which make it feel otherwise. This I believe is the main issue with this type of project. The level of detail and consideration she describes when writing the “rules” for the code is impressive, yet still yields a random-looking result. If we could somehow combine the range of procedural modeling with laser scanning/photogrammetry in order to implement some magnitude of detail within the rules, we would find, in my opinion, an improved result.



2 Replies to “3D Modeling”

    1. Probably manual modeling, combined with some from of image projection. Interiors of rooms are riddled with specific details, and if you were going for an accurate depiction and not just a general “living room” for example, procedural modeling wouldn’t really be helpful.

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