Sunday, 30 November 2014

The reconstruction of an Egyptian mummy in Latvia

Final facial reconstruction of the mummy

Sveiki mani draugi!

Or "hello my friends" in Latvian. Latvia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and by a maritime border to the west with Sweden. Latvia has 1,997,500 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km².

TV story in a Latvian channel
It was precisely from this country, specifically from Riga, the capital, that I received a message via Facebook Messenger few weeks ago. The initial contact was made by the expert in stereoscopic technologies Artūrs Šlosbergs. He told me of a project involving the facial reconstruction of a mummy belonging to the Art Museum Riga Bourse collection.

First presentation of the 3D application with real-time manipulation via Kinect and stereoscopic view (3D glasses).
The project had two great challenges. 1) The mummy did not have richly segmented tomography, but only with some x-ray and CT with a few cuts in the body. 2) The project was to be finished soon as possible (it's my friends, this does not happen only in Brazil, like I thought).

Steps of facial and body reconstruction, starting from skull modeling and then the body's adequacy initially configured in MakeHuman and subsequently imported into Blender

As I worked on something similar in Tothmea project (an Egyptian mummy), where we reconstructed her skull joining data from multiple materials (CT-Scan, X-ray and photogrammetry) we could rebuild considerable part of the structure needed to make the reconstruction. It is clear that the volume of the skull of the last mummy is an approximation, but this was done using accurate data.

Bone structure previously configured in software MakeHuman
But the challenge did not stop there. Modeling the skull was only the first part. They would need a full body character to be animated via Kinect. Who works with modeling and animation knows that a full-length setup for this to be articulated is not a trivial task. Fortunately I had with me the MakeHuman, a free software to create "human beings parametrically." And among the many interesting features, it is possible to select a predefined rig system for the type of animation you need, be it for a movie or even a game, as was our case.

Adaptation of the mesh created in MakeHuman to the skull and the face drawn with the technique Manchester + Lebedinskaya.
To adapt the character to the game room they put me in touch with the game developer Jānis Lācis, and he guided me to know what we would need to change, since the deadline was short.

I also met Mr. Dmitrijs Ščegoļevs owner of PARUS studio Ltd., the company that hired me for this work. I must say that everything was very peaceful, the staff of Latvia is very objective and worked almost without sleep to make the application was finished. Even though I was weakened by a terrible sinusitis, the time zone and an excess of commitments could more or less follow them and end the task when the time was almost expiring.

Priest (mummy) properly linked and already with their costumes, compatible with the historical period from observations of archaeologist Dr. Moacir Elias dos Santos (thanks!). GLSL within Blender.
In addition to being kind people, Latvians are good at press office. Quickly the news of the reconstructed mummy took the headlines of some news sites.



 TV story:


Finally, I can only say I am very happy and pleased to have participated in this project. Thank you very much PARUS Studio, and thank you also to Professor Dr. Moacir Elias Santos for providential help regarding the clothing of the mummy.

A big hug to everyone and see you soon!

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