Do it yourself or hiring external expertise
Depending on the expertise that already exists internally, and the scope of the 3D digitisation that is needed, there are pros and cons of doing it yourself or hiring external expertise for the production of 3D models.
The most useful technology for making photorealistic 3D models of objects, buildings and smaller, archaeological sites is photogrammetry. It is a largely manual process, where a person’s knowledge and experiences are crucial for the end result.
Creating 3D models through photogrammetry is also time-consuming, and requires access to the equivalent of a powerful gaming computer. When creating large 3D models where precision, not least across large areas (for example in rock carvings), is importance, laser scanning is preferable over photogrammetry. However, the equipment needed for laser scanning is expensive and quickly becomes obsolete.
In order to create 3D models yourself through photogrammetry, you need basic knowledge of photography and the basic equipment needed for object photography, along with suitable software and a gaming computer. Information and advice regarding photography hardware and software, 3D rendering and publishing can be found on Sketchfab’s own forum as well as on Youtube and 3D modelling software forums.
However, expect a fair amount of time-consuming trial and error when starting out, as all 3D objects are unique and the software used to create the models have various pros and cons. Learn more about the Royal Armoury’s work with 3D digitisation (In Swedish).
Do it yourself – benefits
• All work is done on site – easy access to objects in storage or in exhibitions.
• Control of the full process.
• Easy to make changes based on new wishes and preferences during the project.
• A way to accrue experiences and knowledge for future projects.
• No need for agreements which regulate ownership and usage rights for material produced by external suppliers.
• Do if yourself – drawbacks
• Expertise and experiences are not available internally.
• Training staff requires time and resources.
• Low production capacity and inefficient workflow due to lack of knowledge and experience among staff members, as well as lack of professional technical equipment, hardware and software.
• The cost of purchasing equipment and software, the use of which normally requires internal training and practice.
Hiring external expertise – benefits
• High quality production and efficient workflow.
• Costs will only be accrued for the time used for effective production of 3D models, and not for training, testing, and solving of technical problems with internal staff.
• Less risk and more efficient use of time and funds.
Hiring external expertise – drawbacks
• Less direct control of the process and limited opportunities for making changes to an ongoing project.
• Objects are handled by external parties.
• External parties have limited knowledge of historical/archaeological material and the dissemination and conservation work conducted by museums.
• Requires contracts concerning ownership and usage rights for the material that is produced.