REVEAL ( Reconstruction and Exploratory Visualization: Engineering meets ArchaeoLogy)
REVEAL is a free and open-source software toolkit for fieldwork recording, documentation, and automated 3D model generation.
There are many computer-based data collection systems for architectural history and archaeology; many databases, many digital archives, and many digital publications for the disciplines. REVEAL is special, because it's a single piece of software that coordinates all data types (e.g., plans, photos, 3D models, tabular information) with semi-automated tools to ease the process of documenting sites, trenches and objects, of recording architectural research documentation and excavation progress, of researching and analyzing the collected evidence, and even of automatically creating 3D models and virtual worlds. Search and retrieval, visualization, and thus testing hypotheses against the excavated material, happen in real time, as the excavation proceeds. That's an important advance.
Since the past happened in 3D, in color, and as a continuous set of actions, that's the way it should be studied and understood. What's needed for fieldwork is a single complete package that keeps things digital from acquisition to publication, integrates all datatypes together, can be used at different types of sites with minimal modification, and places interactive 3D contexts at the heart of the matter. That is what REVEAL does.
REVEAL is already being used at dozens of sites around the world.
Remember, it's free and open-source !
REVEAL has just been updated and improved (see version 188.8.131.52)--your tool of choice for recording archaeological excavations, is now ready for downloading. The current release updates REVEAL to work with the latest version of WAMP (2.5), fixes some bugs, and adds a feature for uploading a 3D model with its texture files so they stay together and display correctly in the REVEAL Analyzer module.
We want to hear from you. Please tell us if you are using REVEAL, or are thinking about using REVEAL, or have comments and suggested upgrades that would help us improve it for everyone's fieldwork.
Contact VIZIN at firstname.lastname@example.org !!
To download your copy of the latest version and learn more visit:
To download your copy or view the video overview or read more about it: http://www.vizin.org/projects/reveal/research.html
REVEAL has been co-developed by the Institute for the Visualization of History, Brown University's Division of Engineering, Laboratory for Man/Machine Systems, and the University of North Carolina's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. REVEAL is a unique, exciting, and continually expanding resource for archaeologists, architectural historians, and others working in related heritage fields. REVEAL was created with funding from National Science Foundation Grant No.0808718, Promoting Paradigm Shifts in Archaeology.
New Features Coming to REVEAL
Sherd Reassembly Package
Overview: The Sherd Reassembly Package is a computer-based system for automatically reassembling an unorganized group of thin-wall sherds into a digital simulation of the vessel that broke into the collected sherds. The assumption is that the original vessel(s) was axially symmetric, i.e., made on a wheel. The original sherd grouping may contain only a subset of the fragments belonging to an original vessel, and the grouping may contain sherds from more than one vessel.
The Process: The input data supplied to the system consists of a 3D dense-data scan of each sherd, where the scan covers the outer surface and break surface. The input data may also be a meshed set of 3D points. The package can work with the commonly used file formats for these data sets. The REVEAL software kit's photomodeling feature can provide such data.
For each scanned or modeled sherd, the package then automatically extracts the points on the outer surface of the sherd and the break-curve for the sherd (the curve on the outer surface along which the sherd broke from its neighbors). The method first processes the scanned sherds having significant surface curvature and distinctive surface shape. It measures an axis and a profile curve for each such sherd, and does a preliminary reassembly of these sherds based on aligning their axes and then fitting together their profile curves. The process then completes these reassembled configurations based on how well the sherds' break-curves fit together. The system then tries to add to the achieved configurations those sherds that do not have significant outer surface curvature. This addition is based on how well the break-curves of the additional sherds fit the break-curves of the sherds in the reassembled configurations.
There may be sets of sherds which are all roughly flat, that is, have no usable outer-surface curvature. For these sets, the system tries to reassemble configurations based only on how the sherd boundary curves fit together.
The Results: The package may not be able to fit all appropriate sherds together because of (a) a lack of distinctive 3D outer surface shape, (b) a lack of sufficient sherd neighbors, or (c) because of gaps (due to chipping or erosion) in appropriate pairs of break-curves. Nevertheless, the process can reconstruct complete vessels or significant portions of vessels. The output is a 3D model of a vessel or portions of a vessel, that can be viewed interactively from arbitrary directions to see how the individual sherds fit together. Our reassembly system involves 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional puzzle-solving systems that include algorithms uniquely developed for the REVEAL platform.
Semi-Automated Architectural Model Generator
Overview: The Semi-Automated Architectural Model Generator module facilitates visualization and exploration of buildings and related archaeological site data by providing tools to automatically generate 3D models of architecture that survives only partially. The package uses a shape program to describe the organization of the architectural elements and shape generator software to run specialized programs to generate the resulting 3D models.
The Process: Users specify shapes that describe how major elements of the structure are organized. The package processes the user-specified attributes of the shapes and generates the 3D model of the architecture. New and different models can be generated by modifying the shape program, thus allowing users to efficiently explore alternative completions of architectural features that may be missing or unexcavated.
Thus, the package is a procedural model building. Buildings are built from basic solids that stem from cylinders, spheres, cones, rectangular solids, and ramps/tetrahedrons. These base geometries can be altered by using boolean operators to make more sophisticated geometry (such as Gothic arches or vaults). Each of the controlling shape parameters are controlled via external "attribute" files, which in turn control generation of aspects like texture, size, and position.
Attributes of the Output 3D Models:
* The resulting 3D models are constructed hierarchically and include labels that can endow the model with a sequence of semantically-meaningful sub-structures, e.g., entrance structure -> gateway -> portcullis -> ashlar blocks.
* Feature attributes can be queried and extracted from the hierarchy, e.g., "give me all ashlar blocks that are part of the entrance structure or gateway."
* Field data and 3D models of the excavated architectural remains can be visualized together with automatically generated 3D architecture models.
* Quickly creating digitally reconstructed complete 3D visualizations of fragmentary architectural structures.
* Results from queries on the geometry can be used to answer holistic questions; e.g., "if the wall of the gateway is 10m high, then how much volume in wall debris should exist and what proportion of that debris should be made of ashlar?"
* Reconstructions can provide visualizations of potential completions of damaged and/or partially excavated structures which in turn may influence future excavation strategies.