Blacader Aisle… from scan to interactive 3D visualisation

Last term, students on the DDS’ MSc International Heritage Visualisation course worked as a team to scan the Blacader Aisle at Glasgow Cathedral (access arranged with thanks to Historic Scotland) and the surrounding area. 3D laser scanning (using a Leica C10) was performed over a few days, along with a lot of photography to try to obtain some high quality images for use for texture in the final visualisation.

Glasgow Cathedral point cloud
3D laser scan point cloud of Glasgow Cathedral

Students then worked in smaller groups to produce visualisations – this video highlights part of one interactive visualisation running in Unity3D. As well as being able to view the Aisle from different viewpoints, users can also interact with the visualisation to learn more about the windows and the carvings above them.

The aisle (and cathedral) building is incredibly irregular. For example, each window is unique – while all have a similar shape, no two have the same dimensions. The skirt of the aisle likewise has many complex forms. ┬áBy building this visualisation from data acquired with a 3D laser scanner, we are able to verify the detail to high degree of accuracy – which then has potential to allow models like this to find additional uses in conservation and preservation.