Virtual Art : A searchable web catalog of Art


Art, I think is one of the best descriptor of the history and culture of any place. Art of any kind — Statues, paintings, graffiti, monuments, is very important for exploring and studying a place. Being a photographer and an art enthusiast, my favorite thing to do when visiting a new place is to go check out the art there. I am an explorer by nature and love to learn about the history and culture of the places I visit. However, very often travelling plans or lack of knowledge of particular local art prevents me from exploring everything. Also sometimes art is temporary, like sand art at the beach, or not properly preserved, like a run down statue about to fall down, and is lost forever if not seen at the right moment.

So, for my DH project I decided to create a location specific searchable web catalog of art for enthusiasts and explorers such as myself. The website will allow users to search for specific art by name or just explore all art at a particular place. Each post about the art piece will consist of

  • A rotatable 3D view of the piece so as the user is able to do a detailed study of it.
  • A  first person 360 degree video of the art piece and the environment around it because I think exploring the environment is really important for studying the cultural and historical significance of the piece.
  • Information on the art piece.
  • A list of related art pieces (In the same area or culturally related).
  • A comment section where the users can have meaningful discussions about the art piece.

The data for the website will be compiled collaboratively with users being able to add or edit information on existing posts or add posts on new art pieces that they explore, just like how Wikipedia works.

This website would be very useful for travelers like myself, as the website will enable us to find and explore local art pieces that we, as outsiders, would not know about, and better plan our trips. Art enthusiasts and scholars can use the website to study art piece from anywhere in the world in great visual detail without travelling. The website will also enable them to study several art pieces at the same time and make meaningful historical connections across locations. It will also be a way of preserve existing art pieces for our future generation.



Prototype 2Prototype3

FPV video example :


  • Ipad with a Structure Sensor : An ipad with a Structure Sensor, running the structure software will be used to record and create a 3D model of the art piece. The structure software exports the 3D model in zip format which will be uploaded to the website when a post is created.



  • Google Glass: Google glass will be used to record a first person video of the art piece and the environment. It is very easy to use while travelling and the video recorded would give you a perspective of what you might see when you actually visit the place.



  • WordPress: WordPress will be used as the Content Management System for the website. It makes it very easy to set up a website and templates are available for setting up a catalog type website. Another reason for choosing WordPress is that it is very easy to add new posts and handle collaboration. Even not tech-savvy people will be able to 3



Small art pieces like busts, small statues, like those in the library are easy to capture via the structure sensor as it is possible to get close to them and capture them from all directions. However, since it is difficult to capture larger art pieces like the minuteman statue from every direction and the distance between the art piece and the ipad gets out of range for the structure sensor, it does not work very well for them. The 3D model comes out incomplete and does not look good.



Photogrammetry will be a better way of capturing big art pieces. It works better for large object and has a greater range of capture than the structure sensor. Using cranes to click pictures from different angles will also be a great idea as it would result in better quality model via photogrammetry.



I think that having such a web catalog of art pieces, as a resource, would be great for scholars, travelers, art enthusiasts or anybody who wants wants to explore and learn more about the world.

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