Starting My Research – 3D Visualization and Procedural Longhouses

After 2 years of coursework, I’m now getting down to the research portion of my PhD.  It’s been quite a journey since I first started my undergraduate in Archaeology and Visual Arts at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in 1989, but the ride has been great and I’ve learned a bunch along the way.  For the next couple of years, my PhD research is a culmination of over 20 years of commercial work, academic studies and personal interest in the effort to bring 3D visualization to the forefront of Archaeological theory and methodology.Saau_trowel

It’s full circle for me now.  24 years ago I was really excited about the cool “Computer Animation” being used in archaeology, primarily in the UK.  Back then, desktop computers were still rare and expensive with the software being even more expensive!  It was all vector based and/or the start of GPS/GIS visualization.  When I saw what they were doing for Jurassic Park in terms of lighting and rendering in 1993, I was hooked and immediately saw a lot of relevance in 3D visualization of archaeological sites.  It was a fateful sunny and hot afternoon at AIGU “Oversite” in North York, Toronto, Ontario,  while doing fieldwork that a colleague suggested I go to Sheridan College, to learn to use the computer animation software.  That started an 18 year journey within the animation business, which also spurred on my interest in 3D visualization within science.

To answer your questions on who I might be, feel free to jump over to my film & tv corporate website; theskonkworks.com, sign up to follow me on Twitter, check out my industry profile and animation projects at CASO or watch my homage to Archaeology and Entertainment with a project our animation team did in 2003-2004 called “Johnny Thunder” (OMG – 93, 835 views!).  Of course don’t forget to check out what Namir Ahmed and I’ve been cooking up at Sustainable Archaeology!

So this is the beginning of a new journey to contribute to the continued adoption of 3D visualization in archaeological research, public engagement and long term preservation.

My PhD will focus on creating a virtual tool-set specifically designed to allow stakeholders (public, private, academic and native) to build in real-time within 3D space, interactive pre and post contact Longhouses of Southwestern Ontario using a procedural 3D model library.  It is my hope this new methodology will help to enlighten our understanding of longhouse construction, community organization and external cultural influences with an eye towards our current assumptions of longhouse communities within the archaeological record.

As this will be an on-going process of refinement, I’m hoping that blogging will help generate new directions of research, theories and understandings of a unique and somewhat assumed area of study.

Welcome along and I hope you enjoy the ride!

Cheers,

Michael

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