Your 3D Photo is Nothing New

By Kate


I’m blogging from a hidden part of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the underground Giza Archives office.  Sitting around the table is a lot of Giza expertise and passion:  Peter Manuelian, Rus Gant, Jean-Pierre Houdin, two Egyptologist PhD students finishing their dissertations (Nick Picardo and Rachel Aronin), plus the Dassault Systèmes Giza 3D team (Karine, Emmanuel, Fabien, Pierre and Mehdi).  I wish you were here to eavesdrop on the conversation.  And pinch me.

We’ve been going nonstop since landing in Boston, so if I’m going to publish a post, it’s got to be during this meeting.  I may slip in some quotes in between this article so we don’t miss anything going on in parallel.


“So how many priests do you think were in the pyramid on the funeral day?” Peter

Ok I’m going to try to double dip the meeting and blog about today’s topic:  3D Photography.

This morning we went to Harvard’s geology department facilities to test some pretty special content on their immersive curved stereoscopic screen.  Three-dimensional photos of the Giza plateau may not seem exotic to you.  But what if I told you they are photos that were taken over 100 years ago!  In 3D.  Over 100 years ago!

Rus, who has been practicing 3D photography since the 1950s, explained to us that the history of 3D photography began in the 1840s, only a few months after the invention of 2D photography.  The concept of three-dimensional images precedes the invention of 3D photography by 30 years during Napoleon’s time. 

So you think you’re cutting edge with your new 3D camera or TV?  NOT!

What drove the 3D photography industry back in the day was what Rus called Parlor Tourism.  Imagine you’re a wealthy society lady and have the opportunity to invite your tea time buddies over for a special 3D photography viewing of The Great Pyramids.  Oh my, how exotic, Evelyn! 

stereo camera

 Between the years 1840 and 1910, MILLIONS of these 3D photos were taken.  Rus, who’s in charge of the The Giza Archives Project’s visualization and technological elements, is starting by looking through a mere thousand.  And this morning we saw his top picks.

What makes a top pick and why is this relevant to Giza 3D?  Giza changes all the time.  There are many mysteries that remain to be solved.  And clues from the past, whether they are the position of rocks, or passage ways that have since been covered by modern construction, are new elements to the Giza puzzle. 

Now imagine going to Giza and taking the same 1840-1910 three-dimensional photographs . . . from the exact same places and angles.  And then imagine merging the old with the new so you can see the evolution in an artistic historic mash-up. 

I won’t go on because there’s a lot more to say.  Stay tuned for another episode soon.  

“There is something very strange also.” Jean-Pierre Houdin

I will say that I’m now ready to go back to school.  Yah think Hahvahd would accept me?  Egypt is calling . . .



Virtual Ergonomics Better Get Moving

By Therese


In my last post, The Ergonomics of Clumsiness, I wrote about how a waiter can mimic movements resonant of a production worker. Through structuring moves, avoiding collisions, precise timing, to name a few, there are indeed commonalities. In this blog I decided to take it a step further.

Could we simulate a worker—even a waiter—so he/she looks identical to the real thing?

How close can a simulated version of a human get to any one person?

Maybe it starts with realistic movement. Or body width and height. What about appropriate clothing or a uniform? I took this question to Dassault Systèmes Virtual Ergonomics expert, Julie Charland. No surprise the Montreal Virtual Ergonomics Team had already thought about it, in great detail.

Julie told me that other virtual ergo users would like to be able to show a representation that looks as real as possible. Once they have this, it’s easier to communicate to non-ergo experts. It’s kind of a “show me/prove it” mentality.

She said clothing has been around for awhile, so what users need now, is to see a virtual human manikin that looks more like, well, us—humans. The more realistic a virtual human is, the easier it is for others to see it as the real thing—be it a production worker, waiter, or whomever. Whatever that person does, the simulation version needs to move about exactly as a human would–fluidly with less cylindrical movements. Sure uniform helps, but now let’s see it move!

A full integration of this would be a huge plus, but can it be done? Julie did hint that the Montreal Virtual Ergonomics Team has been très busy with upgrading functionality for virtual ergonomics.

Would users really be able to visualize more if the virtual manikin had a familiar look and movements?

Hmmm….I wonder. Stay tuned for my next post to find out.



Therese SnowTherese Snow works for Dassault Systèmes DELMIA Corp.

Project 729 – Governance Unexpected

By Dan


Hello everybody,

Did you ever have one of those weeks where you had an unexpected project get dropped on you?  Of course these projects don’t just come with a tight deadline; they also come with vague requirements and expectations for high quality of work.  Maybe it has happened to you today already!  Well I had one of those ‘moments’ recently.  I call it Project 729.  Seven days to my daughters 9th birthday.

A little background.  My hobby is woodworking.  My daughter, Morgan, loves dolls.  Exactly one week before Morgan’s 9th birthday, my wife asked me how the bed is coming along.  I replied, “What bed?”  Since I had spent a little time in my shop lately, she said Morgan was convinced I was building her a bed for her 2 American Girl dolls.  I was told in no uncertain terms that she would be devastated if I didn’t come through with a handmade bed for her.

Where to start?  As with any project, you’ve got to gather requirements.  Functionally, two dolls had to be able to lie on the bed side-by-side, with a 2” thick mattress and a couple of small pillows.  I added some of my own details, such as making it sturdy enough so that she could stand on it (because she will), specifying it be made from native oak that was harvested from a tree in our yard, kid-proof it by rounding all edges and using non-toxic finishes, plus I decided it should be personalized with her name.  I outsourced the production of the mattress, pillows, sheets, pillowcases and comforter to my mother-in-law, thereby reducing risk of missing my deadline.  When looking at the skills and availability of my virtual team, resource management if you will, this was the obvious choice.

Next, I had to set up a project schedule.  Remember, I’m not just dealing with a deadline – it’s a birthday.  That date is not moving.  I knew I would need 3 days of finishing work at the end, so all the design and woodworking needed to be done within the next four days.  Some things could be done in parallel, but it was very important to identify what my critical path was going to be.  I sensed that the headboard would take a lot of time due to the extensive hand work involved – rasping, filing, sanding.  This is where I needed to focus my attention.

Things were going along as planned until a last minute design change, of course.  My wife thought it would be a “good idea” to add a strip of walnut on the footboard to tie in with the letters on the back.  Resisting the urge to fight scope creep, I quickly added the accent piece and completed the project in time.

As you can see, our everyday lives have a lot in common with our professional lives with respect to delivering projects.  The big difference is that projects at work tend to be far more complex, may be inter-related with other projects, or even be part of a much larger program. 

Governance, the domain associated with managing programs, resources, risk, requirements, portfolios and configurations, assuring quality and regulatory compliance, as well as the real-time reporting of status and deliverables associated with the tasks, is a critical function of what many of us do every day.   Yet it is surprising how little attention is sometimes paid to actively managing these processes.  In many instances, simple spreadsheets break down the work required, a document lists the requirements, e-mail serves as the communication backbone, and status is delivered at discrete, regularly scheduled meetings with generally suspect and out-of-date information.

Of course, there is a better way, and I’d like you to join me on journey to find the best path towards getting your projects and programs under control.  I would like to hear what you are up to and what your challenges are in this area.  I hope to be a regular contributor to 3D Perspectives on the domain of governance, keeping you informed of what DS and ENOVIA are up to.  Stay tuned!

Oh, one last thing.  Just when I thought the parallels between Project 729 and my work life were complete, my daughter introduced Product Portfolio Management into the mix – she wants a matching set of dressers for next year!



Dan Raun works for ENOVIA.

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