Visualisation is an important part of VISTA activities. Not only does visualisation allow for a better understanding of generated project results, but also allows for improved public dissemination. This is significant since visualisation allows for stakeholders to interface and interact with the data in a manner which allows them to more clearly understand the significance of a projects output. VISTA visualisation activities in this area can be broadly sub divided into three main roles 3D Models, Reconstruction and Animations. These activities are supported and enhanced by VISTA's Aurora render farm which is linked directly to the University's 150TB Blue BEAR computing cluster, and runs Blender 2.46, the free open source 3D content creation suite.


VISTA Compute - Desktop Resources


  • High-end 64bit workstations with nVIDIA Quadro Graphics cards allowing the centre to visualise the latest high resolution imagery in conjunction with active stereo viewing.
  • Lower specification 32bit workstations available for standard software visualisation purposes.
    High specification workstation specifically set-up for Archaeo-geophysical interpretation.
  • Aurora, a small mixed architecture render farm which features 32 cores and over 80GB of Physical RAM that facilitates increased capacity for the centres animation and visualisation activities.
  • Direct link to the University main compute cluster the BEAR environment and is able to directly utilise and interface with this modern high performance computing resource. This is linkage is vital in enabling the visualisation of the outputs of this 1,500 core resource.



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   Visualisation of Objects


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7th Century BC Grecian Cup


An ancient Greek terracotta stemmed cup was recreated in bronze and presented to Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Sterling to mark the opening of the VISTA Centre and the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity on the 12th March 2003.


The original cup made in East Greece in 7th Century BC was reconstructed in metal by the University’s department of Metallurgy and Materials using modern technologies that are similar to the casting process used in ancient times. The process involved scanning the cup to create a 3D image using equipment in the IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre. Using this digital image, a plastic model is created to cast a silicone rubber mould, which can be filled with wax. A ceramic shell will be made by dipping into a slurry of ceramic and then coating in sand. Once dry the shell is put into a pressure cooker to melt out the wax. The liquid metal is then poured into the shell while it is still hot.


It is an example of how virtual technologies of the kind used at VISTA are increasingly used to represent valuable and fragile archaeological artefacts. Utilizing the facilities and expertise of both the Department of Metallurgy and Materials and VISTA, the reconstruction incorporated both modern and ancient techniques: on one hand the latest technology in computer modelling , and on the other, casting techniques and materials based on those used by the Ancient Greeks. In ancient times the wax would have been sculpted by an artist. The wax would have been pressed into the terracotta to make the imprint of the design and then terracotta was wrapped around the wax to form the shape of the ornament. The mixture of modern and ancient processes seem fitting for such a reconstruction.





   Visualisation of Monuments


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   Visualisation of Landscapes


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