April 18 ­– 2D Images and 3D Models

///April 18 ­– 2D Images and 3D Models
April 18 ­– 2D Images and 3D Models 2018-01-04T16:07:51-05:00

Class Plan

  • Guest Speaker Sebastian Heath
  • 3D Modeling Workshop


Kirton, Isabella and Melissa Terras. “Where Do Images of Art Go Once They Go Online? A Reverse Image Lookup Study to Assess the Dissemination of Digitized Cultural Heritage.” In Museums and the Web 2013. N. Proctor & R. Cherry (eds). Silver Spring, MD: Museums and the Web.

Heath, Sebastian. “Closing Gaps with Low-cost 3D.” In Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology. W. Caraher and B. Olson, Eds.  University of North Dakota Digital Press, 2015.

Mark Mudge, Carla Schroer, G. Earl, Kirk Martinez, H. Pagi, Corey Toler-Franklin, Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Gianpaolo Palma, M. Wachowiak, Michael Ashley, Neffra Matthews, Tom Noble, M. Dellepiane. “Principles and Practices of Robust, Photography-based Digital Imaging Techniques for Museums.”  Cultural Heritage Imaging.

Manovich, Lev, Tara Zepel, and Jeremy Douglass. “How to Compare One Million Images.” In Understanding Digital Humanities, edited by David M. Berry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Sherratt, Tim. “It’s All About the Stuff: Collections, Interfaces, Power, and People.” Journal of Digital Humanities, March 9, 2012.

Sebastian’s Google Doc


Agisoft Photoscan





Closer to Van Eyck

Smithsonian X 3D

Cultural Heritage Imaging


Place model here


  1. Alfo April 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    1. I find interesting about Kirton and Terras’ research on RIL engines that they provide quantitative evidence that image reuse draws people back towards the original producer of the images. Are museums generally aware of this, or is the National Gallery the exception? I find great that the institutions invest in providing good images of their heritage, while the web get back to the original source.

    2. Isn’t the Understanding Digital Humanities “How to compare a million images” a bit problematic? By analyzing only quantity of color and light (b/n) in the images, they pretend to address the issue of ‘style’. Is this a too reductionist claim? Isn’t style, in visual culture, not only the amount of color but also the content, references, tone, intentions of particular stylistic decisions?

    3. What I like about Sherratt’s article is its invocation to the public to take agency on the collections of images, putting awareness on how the power of their use are not in the images themselves, but in the ‘interface’ of their usage and display… Good read, also because I had no idea that Australia was so non-white!

  2. Hannah April 17, 2017 at 11:54 am

    1. Really interested in the experimental approach to image reproduction in the Kirton and Terras. I think it provides a really interested use of the scientific method (although loosely) to solve humanities problems or prove arguments.

    2. A lot of the M. Mudge, C. Schroer article lines up with discussions I’ve had in my Approaches to Public History class, and it’s really interesting to think about how these digital tools can transform how and what we can present to the public, however the methods are difficult to understand without the technical knowledge.

    3. I took similar issues as Alfonso with the “How to Compare a Million Images” piece. I felt that it equates certain features to style, and it doesn’t operationalize what it’s studying in a way that has a lot of validity. It felt a bit contrived.

  3. Jane Excell April 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    In “It’s All About the Stuff…” Sherratt explains that to create his database, he used “a facial detection script I found through Google.” Ah! Scary! Perhaps he did all the work of making sure that this program was accurate enough to generate reliable results, but if so, he should have talked about that process- especially since this article reads as sort of a DIY for creating your own finding-aid program. My skepticism about the script he used was increased by his comment that, “[a]bout a third of these [the results] weren’t actually faces.” What were they? If his facial detection program returned that many false positives, can we really trust the rest of the results? His later comment that the whole program “took a bit more than a weekend to create” made me even more nervous. I guess maybe he’s a computer genius but that still seems like awfully quick work to have been thoroughly tested and checked for accuracy. Even if he really does know what he’s doing, this article struck me as a scary example of how software could be misused by those who don’t understand it enough to be able to generate unbiased results. Sherratt advocates for “user generated finding aids” but if this is his idea of how users should go about generating them, would that really be a good thing?

    The ideas presented in “How to Compare One Million Images” really reminded me of Moretti’s text work, but with images. The authors state: “
able to 
images” (4), which sounds to me very much like what Moretti does, but when this article mentions Moretti, it does so only to say that the work done in this study will “erase
Moretti’s ‘distant 
reading’” because Moretti uses “the whole 
analysis” whereas their work will focus down to individual details, but I would argue that Moretti does this as well by looking at specific tropes, devices, etc. within novels. Is the work that these authors are doing really so different?

    I was struck by how many elements of the Kirton and Terras’s RIL study relied on various Google programs: Google Image Search, Google Analytics, and Google Translate all played a role in their data collection. While they do openly compare the results gathered through TinEye versus those from Google Image and admit that Google’s lack of transparency and constantly shifting results make their data difficult to use, this study still seems fairly dependent on Google in general. Is Google’s dominance great enough that some Digital Humanities work could become reliant on its data? Is there any way these authors could have conducted a meaningful study on this topic without using Google?

  4. Lauren April 17, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    In Kirton, Isabella and Melissa Terras. on RIL they highlighted a number of problems using tools such as the fact that the tool only works for the part of the internet that it had scraped and a large percentage of the URL hits that it found were now unavailable. “highlighting the impermanent nature of Web pages and the difficulties faced in a study such as this dealing with constantly changing, dated content.” The internet is an ever-changing landscape that holds different pieces of context at any one point. I was interested in if the study tracked how the links changed over time, where the pieces that are more impermanent in nature have any connection to which ones linked more back to the originals.

    In The RIL it highlights that the moving of images through the internet and as the image moves within the internet at each spot the meaning behind it can also change, this relates a lot to the way we explored Cat’s project earlier this year in trying to find what is real propaganda versus artificial. The ability to move the image through the inter webs is allowing others to change the context that you are now no longer control as owner of the image? Is it reasonable to allow people to add their own context on the image, should scholars want to lock down who can share images and context?

    In Understanding Digital Humanities “How to compare a million images”, there was an interesting piece on what is seen as the important “style”, can you reduce “style” down to things like light/color over types or influence of the work? How do you define style?

  5. Cat April 18, 2017 at 11:15 am

    1. I found Tim Sherratt’s “It’s All About the Stuff” to be a fascinating project and way to look at public history and interface studies. He says that this interface “represents another subtle shift in power” because he was able to create it without involvement by the National Archives itself, leading him to remark “interfaces to cultural heritage collections are no longer controlled solely by cultural heritage institutions.” I am curious how this will evolution will change the discourse around national archives and collective memory, as digital formats allow for new interfaces from new actors? It seems like there is something big happening here that could have massive impact in access and pushes to decolonize these spaces.
    2. I really liked Sherratt’s comment on abilities for creativity in using archives now: “Online technologies not only free us from the having to brave the physical intimidation of the reading room, they free us up to engage with the records in new ways. The archivist-on-duty would probably not be pleased if I pulled out some scissors and started snipping photos out of certificates. Or if I pulled a file apart and pasted its contents on the wall. But online we are free to experiment.” I am curious if contemporary artists are delving into archives, too, for their art in a way that could not have happened before?
    3. I am interested in Sherratt’s discussion of the importance of ideologies when building an archive. It made me wonder if archives of larger institutions have a similarly mindful practice when digitizing and designing their web interfaces.

  6. Whitney April 18, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    1.) After reading “Where Do Images of Art go Once They’re Online?” I have to wonder what happens to images that individuals post on social media straight from their devices – are they attributed with any copyrights? Are they traceable to see where they’ve ended up, or is it only licensed pictures that RIL can be used for?

    2.) In “Closing Gaps with Low Cost 3D”, Heath notes that, “We’re catching up with – and going beyond – where we’ve always wanted to be.” But, where exactly is that?

    3.) Is the goal really as Mark Mudge et al. says in “Principles and Practices of Robust, Photography-Based Digital Imaging Techniques for Museums” to “democratize technology”? How is the elitism of scholarship upheld – or should it be?

  7. phyllis plitch April 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    1. I can see (and I’m not surprised) that I have company in the class who are also questioning the “How to Compare One Million Images” project and resulting article. As I read the piece I kept feeling like the assault on my sensibilities was even greater than when I was reading Moretti! That so much work has gone into completely squeezing the creative aspects out of the manga is not what I found most challenging. What is most perplexing to me is figuring out what has been accomplished. I could see how the 127 paintings by Piet Mondrian “visualized as an image plot” could be illuminating and transformative because it essentially can be viewed as a new work of art. But from my understanding, the authors are trying to bring additional light to bear on the actual manga, and it’s hard for me to see from the final result of this study what is important, new, interesting, or helpful in better understanding these original works, etc. I kept waiting for the digital humanities payoff? Is this statement it? “The fact that digital image processing and visualization of one million manga pages data set make us question the very basic concept of humanities and cultural criticism is at least as important as any particular discoveries we can make about this data set. It illustrates how computational analysis of massive cultural data sets has a potential to transform our theoretical and methodological paradigms for studying culture.”
    2. When I first read the paragraph below in “It’s All About the Stuff,” I added a post-it question to myself that read: “very idealistic. is there a dark side? I ponder.” (I see that others who have commented on potential negative outcomes, and I’ll note that Jane raised much more pointed questions about the “facial recognition” technology.) I generally philosophically questioned whether this kind of technology could always be used for the greater good, as Sherratt seems to suggest. “All of this hacking, harvesting, questioning, enriching and meaning-making makes me think about the possibilities of grassroots leadership. Online technologies enable people to take cultural institutions into unexpected realms. They can build their own interfaces, ask their own questions, determine their own needs — they can point the way instead of simply waiting to be served. The idea of grassroots leadership brings me back to the title of this essay, ‘It’s all about the stuff’ It seems to me that we tend to model the interactions between cultural institutions and the public as transactions The public are ‘clients’, ‘patrons’, ‘users’ or ‘visitors’. But the sorts of things I’ve been talking about today give us a chance to put the collections themselves squarely at the centre of our thoughts and actions. Instead of concentrating on the relationship between the institution and the public, we can can focus on the relationship we both have with the collections.”
    3. In Closing Gaps with Low-Cost 3D, Sebastian Heath mentions change being in the air in several times. A common theme here and in other readings was the increasing availability of cheap tools to do this kind of work. Are there pitfalls to tools becoming freely available and cheap? How can we recognize and avoid them?

  8. jpetinos May 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    1) Reading “Where Do Images of Art Go Once They Go Online?” made me wonder how much of an image’s dissemination is random, or based on factors that digital techniques cannot or will never be able to pick up on. If an image is reused on a more popular website, how does that website’s author/owner’s popularity dictate how often that image is reused? Are the readers of certain websites more active than others, or more likely to reuse images on their own sites? Will we be able to answer these questions in the near future or at all?

    2) Being me, I was of course interested in the way Reverse Image Lookup can be used for other more nefarious purposes. Users of dating apps it seems can be very easily identified using RIL, and as this technology, and facial recognition technology, advances, will a user’s photos be used to identify that user?

    3) These articles made me examine the importance or lack thereof of curators. Sheratt writes “Online technologies enable people to take cultural institutions into unexpected realms. They can build their own interfaces, ask their own questions, determine their own needs — they can point the way instead of simply waiting to be served. “And yet, among the noise of the internet, I was wondering if museums and widely recognized public spaces and exhibits still had a large role to play as a content filter for popular discourse or creation of a common culture. Do people simply want to “be served?”

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