creation process

Creating the collection was a great effort, both on an individual and a collective level. The actual process of creating our model required tenacity and perseverance, as the trial-and-error nature of photogrammetry proved to be very stress-inducing. Nevertheless, we all managed to produce a 3D model of our selected object and proceeded to the development of our collection’s website. 

The creation process regularly felt long and tedious, yet at the same time intriguing and motivating. Keep on reading if you would like to have more insight on the particular in’s and out’s of our creation process!

step 1: choosing & capturing objects

From the narrative point of view, the objects we had to choose needed to be connected with the general theme of the virtual time capsule. This meant that the narratives behind the objects should give an insight into the broad theoretical framework. In this particular time capsule, the objects were chosen as representatives of the 21st century. Every object reveals a story about important events worth remembering for future generations. Moreover, with respect to the capturing and modelling phase, we also had to take into account the physical nature of whichever object we would choose. There are many features to avoid, as were suggested to stay clear of any smooth, monochromatic or reflective objects. Such elements hamper the software’s ability to recognize different points in the picture.

Furthermore, it is important in the capturing phase to work with good technical equipment as this is quite helpful later on in the digitizing process. One of the most important things is to start with photographing the objects using a good quality camera, as the processing software needs high quality images to work with and create a 3D model. The second most important thing is the lighting. In cases where the light was not sufficient or consistent, we used artificial lighting to capture the objects clearly and without shadows that may confuse the software. Moreover, coded targets were useful, especially in capturing small objects, because they increased the possibilities the software recognized all the sides of an object. Finally, tripods, lightboxes and powder were also tools that we found helpful during this process. 

At the beginning of the capturing process, we needed to start by placing the object in a stable place and adjusting the camera to the appropriate height. After rehearsing by capturing the objects from all the sides, we took some sample pictures that we uploaded in the software to check their quality. Upon discovering that the quality was not sufficient, we needed to change the camera’s settings and start the process all over again. Watch the video below to learn more about the experience of creating a 3D model for this collection.

Image: Imke van Gulik

step 2: creating our models

During the second phase, we uploaded the pictures and started to run the software steps. To summarize, the software we used was to take our images and align them accordingly by calculating where specific points are located in the images (in relation to other points). Next, the software would take these points and try to full up the spaces between them, creating a so-called ‘dense cloud’. Then, more texture would have to be generated (once more using the images as a basis) to create an accurate and detailed model. Though these steps encapsulate the general workflow of creating a 3D model, the settings and the tools we used were not standardized, as they were dependent on what was most suitable for each individual object. Creating a 3D model is essentially a trial-and-error process, requiring one to try out different settings and methods in order to succeed. Numerous issues arose during our efforts in digitizing our objects, as the images below illustrate. In many cases, models would be upside-down, missing chunks, lacking texture or blatantly turn out to be a pixelated mess. However, we all managed to produce a sufficiently accurate model in the end, thanks to perseverant problem-solving.


In this collection, the processing software was the Agisoft Metashape Professional. This software has a forum with FAQ and answers that were extremely useful when a problem occurred. After the creation of the 3D model, we uploaded the model to the virtual collection on Sketchfab. The most important final touches on Sketchfab were the annotations that we made to give insights into our objects. The editing part required the adjustment of the lights, the rotation, the background, and the creation of tags and descriptions. In the end, we made sure that our objects were public. 

step 3: building the website

Image: Stan van Bommel

Building the website was a group effort, requiring collective thinking and strong communication. The different teams collaborated in the development of our collection’s elements, as we strived for consistency throughout the website. Hands-on wireframing allowed us to visualize our ideas and show them to our fellow groups, democratically deciding on which wireframes we would adopt as a template.

We then proceeded to realize our determined wireframes by creating content. Each theme team started to write their narratives and contextualize their themes within the collection, including forms of multimodality to grant the reader an interactive experience. The web design team moved to developing the overall aesthetics of the website by selecting the WordPress theme, the fonts and the colour palette. Banners, buttons and flipboxes were created using Canva. The introduction team began to write content for the additional pages of the collection, which would provide further contextualization. Furthermore, the necessary information about the individual objects was to be collected for the creation of the interactive timeline.

Developing our collection into a full-fledged and functional website was a difficult task, demanding concise planning and time management, effective communication and above all, coherent teamwork.