From survey, to 3D modeling, to 3D printing: Bramante's Nymphaeum Colonna at Genazzano

Tommaso Empler, Adriana Caldarone


Today it's more and more widespread the use of new computer techniques applied to the field of archeology.
Techniques are often heterogeneous, but organized in a right pipeline allow a good understanding of the archaeological heritage.
In the study of the "Nymphaeum Colonna of Genazzano", attributed to Bramante, the integrated approach of systems such as photogrammetry, 3D modeling, virtual tour and 3D printing, allows to generate a scale model, with low margins of error, of the shape of the Nymphaeum at the beginning of the sixteenth century (researches until now were very limited). Initial activities are concentrated in the acquisition of data using a total station or TST (total station theodolite) and photographs, taken as multiple frames, recognizable in the coordinate system result from the survey with TST. A special software allows the georeferencing of the raster files with the captured data, allowing the generation of bitmap textures, used in the next step of 3D modeling and rendering. At this stage of 3D visualization it's possible to spot the differences between the Nymphaeum in the project of Bramante and the current status. The following step goes from the virtual 3D model to prototyping, through the realization of a real object by a 3D printing. The object, printed in two PLA parts, is then cleaned by the support materials and joined together. The methodology described revolutionizes and increases the "empathetic size" with the archaeological site, with its use, giving the opportunity to be better perceived either in its current state either in the historical reconstruction at the time of Bramante.