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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

Cl PA 2003 XIX 11 ' International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalya, Turkey
the current case study edifices and virtual humans are fully
covered by Foni et. al.
This paper solely focuses on the real-time immersive
visualisation and interactive narratives of the recreated
ceremony with real-time virtual characters. Especially as none
of the cultural heritage applications covered in Foni et al, is
focusing on the ceremonial character-based restitution or
provides immersive VR real-time visualisation (3D stereo
viewing). The present case study illustrates the adoption in
virtual heritage of not only architectural visualisation but also
high quality virtual character recreation with face, body, cloth,
speech simulation. Furthermore, the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia,
one of the largest and most significant cathedrals in the world,
has never been fully virtually restored and visualised in real
time before. Ponder et al describes the main architecture,
requirements, specification and uses of the VHD++ real-time
framework. Finally Ulicny et al presents another application of
the same VHD++ framework for virtual heritage dedicated to
crowd simulation and rule-based scenarios.
2.1 Virtual Namaz pray
The detailed scenario of the Morning Namaz Pray during the
16 th century restored Hagia Sophia and S. Sergius and Bacchus
edifices, was prepared by the [YTU] historians, architects and
scientific personnel. Following that was the motion capture
process, defined by [Molet et ai] utilising the VICON optical
motion capture system and a real person re-enacting the Namaz
pray thus being recorded digitally. After the needed post
processing the individual movements that correspond to the
various parts of the pray are available as separate keyframe
animations, ready to be applied to the H-Anim created virtual
characters. After the YTU and DTU (Denmark Technical
University) teams provided the simulated echoic 3D sound
speeches that correspond to the verses of the pray, it was
possible to have a database of matched speeches and body
animations. Thus the 2 essential parts of the Namaz pray
ceremony, were then ready to be applied to the virtual Imam
and other characters.
2.2 Virtual Characters
After the modelling of the H-Anim virtual characters (as
described in Foni et al) the face processing starts according to
the processes and tools described in Kshirsagar et al so that the
virtual characters are ready for facial animation and speech
simulation. Next step in the pre-processing stage is when the
virtual body and clothes are being prepared for animation and
deformation, according to the skinning process described in
Cordier et.al. Finally the fully body-cloth-face-speech enabled
virtual character is exported in the H-Anim format. The
following figure illustrates some resulted virtual characters.
Figure 1 Character source images (left) vs. 3D
modelled characters (right)
2.3 Evolution of the edifice throughout time
Due to the hermeneutic need to revive the time-dependent
context of the restored edifices, the need has arisen for
restitution as churches originally and later as been transformed
to mosques. However, the Byzantine restitution of the edifices
proved of high risk as not sufficient architectural-historical-
archaeological data were at hand. Thus it was commonly agreed
after discussions with the CAHRISMA project cultural partners,
that the Byzantine interior restitution will depict only
architectural modifications without image-fresco restorations
which were unobtainable in most cases. Thus the simulations
resulted as depicted in the Results section.
2.4 Rapid application prototyping using a real-time
framework for VAR character simulation
In order to proceed with the rapid development of such
demanding high performance interactive immersive VR
application, featuring advanced virtual human simulation
technologies we adopted the VHD++ real-time framework as
described by Ponder et al. (illustrated in the following figure)
frui VHDtt Otivclopiltctu FfjmortOfA
Figure 2 Concept of a generic VHD++ runtime engine
with components (plug-ins)
VHD++ addresses the most common problems related to the
development, extension and integration of heterogeneous
simulation technologies under a single system roof while
combines both framework (complexity curbing) and component
(complexity hiding) based software engineering methodologies.
As a result a large scale architecture and code reuse is being
achieved which radically increases development efficiency and
robustness of the final VR and virtual character application.
Figure 2 illustrates a graphical overview of the VHD++
framework. Without the adoption of such a framework it would
have been extremely time consuming and technically not
guaranteed that we would result in such a VR application
featuring all these real-time heterogeneous technologies
supported by the necessary processing tools: a) immersive 3D
real-time graphics, b) immersive 3D sound, c) VR interaction,
d) virtual human animation with skinning, e) real-time cloth
simulation, 0 facial animation, emotion and speech.