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The digital Michelangelo project

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1 Author(s)
M. Levoy ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Stanford Univ., CA, USA

Recent improvements in laser rangefinder technology, together with algorithms developed at Stanford for combining multiple range and color images, allow us to reliably and accurately digitize the external shape and reflectance of many physical objects. As an application of this technology, I and a team of 30 faculty, staff, and students from Stanford University and the University of Washington spent the 1998-99 academic year digitizing the sculptures and architecture of Michelangelo. During this time, we scanned 10 statues, including the giant figure of David, and 2 building interiors, including the Medici Chapel, which was designed by Michelangelo. As a side project, we also acquired a high-resolution light field of his statue of Night, in the Medici Chapel. Finally, in another side project, we scanned the 1,163 fragments of the Forma Urbis Romae, the giant marble map of ancient Rome. In the months ahead we will process the data we have collected to create 3D digital models of these objects and, in the case of the Forma Urbis, we will try to assemble the map. The goals of this project are scholarly and educational. Commercial use of the models is not excluded, and many such uses can be imagined, but none is currently planned. I outline the technological underpinnings, logistical challenges, and possible outcomes of this project

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3-D Digital Imaging and Modeling, 1999. Proceedings. Second International Conference on

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