About the Process

Working in groups of three and building on previous assignments in this course, students began by searching the community for religiously meaningful objects with rich and discoverable histories. After selecting an object, project teams chose one of several different techniques for creating their 3D model.

During the Spring 2017 semester, some project teams used a technique called photogrammetry, which renders a series of photographs into a point cloud that can be printed or overlaid with texture for online display. The first step in photogrammetry is to photograph an object from all angles. Project teams then used Autodesk’s ReMake software to render their 250 photographs into 3D models. Midway through the project, Autodesk stopped supporting ReMake for Mac. This meant that for most students in the class, the software (and the models it had been used to create) became instantly inaccessible. Fortunately, Kevin Hegg, Director of Digital Projects for JMU’s Innovation Services, assisted project teams in either salvaging the work they had already done with ReMake or working with a different technology.

The most popular 3D scanning technology during the Spring 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters was a Structure Sensor, an iPad-mounted structured light scanner that uses infrared projection to create a photo-realistic textured point cloud.

Senior History major Kati Kissane using a Structure Sensor to create a 3D model


During the Spring 2018 semester, some project teams moved from the Structure Sensor to an Artec handheld 3D scanner, which creates higher-quality scans and was more effective in modeling small or flat objects.

After completing their models, students uploaded them to Sketchfab and embedded them on their group’s page on this website, where they can be viewed from every angle and even in virtual reality.