There are a lot of questions focused on the details of every Diorama model we build. There are intricacies that make all of the difference in the world as to the quality of the finished product. Let's talk about 3 different projects and the details associated with the project. The 3 projects are in different stages of completion — a completed project, an in-process project, and a new project that just had a kick-off meeting with the customer.
December 7, 1941 is a day that we will always remember — the attack on Pearl Harbor. A joint project with the National Park Service, Autodesk, and WhiteClouds allowed the creation of a new experience for visitors to Pearl Harbor — an extremely accurate diorama model of exactly how the USS Arizona looks today, along with artifacts resting on the ship.
The wreckage of the USS Arizona still contains approximately 500,000 gallons of oil that are still slowly seeping out of the ship's submerged wreckage. Almost 80 years after its demise, the Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. The National Park Service wanted to determine the condition of the hull with concerns for a massive rupture that would result in environmental damage. The USS Arizona is the grave site of the remaining 948 sailors who perished on December 7 — 229 bodies were recovered from the total 1,177 serving at the time.
A combination of laser scanning (capturing digital information about the shape of the ship by measuring distance between the scanner and ship), subsea LiDAR (light from a laser to trace the outline of the ship), SONAR (emitted sound pulses measuring their return after being reflected), and photogammetry (creating 3D models from 2D photographs), and 3D Printing (creating a finished object adding material layer by layer) were used to build this exact diorama model. These technologies (image above) were used to assess the ship's condition without the sailors' remains being disturbed. With all of these digital technologies, it took over two years to produce the final digital model.
This 6' ship diorama had over 2 Million polygons that had to be painstakingly colorized from the black and white digital model and took months to complete. An iconic Coke bottle and cooking pot were also replicated (including barnacles) as they sat on the bow of the ship
This joint project allows visitors to experience the ship and it's artifacts through 3D Printed diorama models.
Actual image of a cooking pot on the bow of the USS Arizona
Diorama model of the cooking pot
Actual image of a Coke bottle on the deck of the USS Arizona
Diorama model of the Coke bottle
Brigham Young University (BYU) is located in Provo, Utah, next to the Wasatch mountains. WhiteClouds was commissioned to build an architectural diorama (10'x12') showcasing the beauty and geography of the campus with a special emphasis on the huge variety of trees and their historical significance. All 88 buildings will be included in the final diorama.
From a technology perspective, multiple iPads will have pre-programmed lighting controls for each of the 88 buildings LED's. Matching cabinetry and glass walls will finish off the aesthetics of the architectural diorama. To enrich the effectiveness of the diorama, augmented reality will be used on mobile devices to combine the digital and physical diorama features. Traditional model-making processes will be used along with various 3D Printing technologies to emphasize the realism of the stone-looking buildings. Roads, sidewalks, and parking lots will all be 3D printed with a sandstone type finish. For statues needing extreme details, high definition 3D Printers will be used that can print details as small as 16 microns (about 1/6 the size of a human hair). Fabrication of the architectural diorama will take approximately 6 months.
The initial phase of the project was to build a small section of the campus (two images below), highlighting pathways and landscaping around the Karl G. Maeser building. This was used to successfully attract donors for the funding of the project.
WhiteClouds has been commissioned to create a museum diorama to demonstrate the lock systems on the Erie Canal. A lock is a method for raising and lowering water levels to allow ships to navigate waterways.
The present Erie Canal rises 566 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie through 35 locks. From tide-water level at Troy, the Erie Canal rises through a series of locks in the Mohawk Valley to an elevation of 420 feet above sea-level at the summit level at Rome. Continuing westward, it descends to an elevation of 363 feet above sea-level at the junction with the Oswego Canal, and finally rises to an elevation of 565.6 feet above sea-level at the Niagara River. The original "Clinton's Ditch" Erie Canal had 83 locks. The Enlarged Erie Canal, built between 1835 and 1862, saw this number reduced to 72 locks. Today, there are 35 numbered locks -- although Lock No. 1 is usually called the Federal Lock -- plus the Federal Black Rock Lock.
Once a WhiteClouds project begins, the first order of business is a kickoff meeting to review all of the deliverables, to work through the project timelines, change order processes, and clarify communications methodology between WhiteClouds and the customer. Historical documents, images, articles, are all helpful in fabricating a diorama. WhiteClouds wants the customer to be ecstatic when they receive their museum diorama and any documentation that can be supplied early on in the process has a huge impact to the success of the project.
The finished museum diorama will be 86" x 40" x 12" and will be created in full-color. The diorama will include the Erie Canal, dikes, locks, water features, people, tow mules/horses, 3 buildings and 1 barge. The diorama will also include full landscaping, topography, and roads and trails around the canal. The Erie Canal project will be an exciting project for the WhiteClouds team.