Working in cultural heritage?


(James Uk) #1

Hi all,
So I've been perfecting my Photoscanning where I can over the last few months (been doing 3D graphics for years on my own time) but I'd love to hear from anyone here who does this for a living. I'd love to break into this line of work but it's quite an 'out there' skill set

(Vlad) #2

This people does for living but i thought their camera and light setup is far away for one person.

Photogrammetry is not rare for this moment, you can see many guides, tutorials or masterclasses. And more and more 3D artists use it in their work.

So if you want be "Photogrammetry man" may be this is "dead end road". If only you don't want open any classes and be another one guru.
But if you want use photogrammetry for your projects. This is just another tool that can help make your work.

(James Uk) #3

Ah yeah I do like his blog, really great work he does.

To be honest I got the same sentiment about it, I mean it took a while to perfect it but it's not something that would take so long to learn. I do earn decent money selling models and would do well if I could sell enough. But for now I think maybe you're right, I'll stick to using it as a tool and go for something using my other long term learned skills. Thanks

(Nebulousflynn) #4

Hi @james_uk - are you talking about setting up as an exclusively photoscan based business? I agree with @ssh4 that it is a tough market in some respects but I wouldn't rule out photo scanning as a source of income - you could think of it as a similar role to a photographer, and I'm sure it will soon be regarded as a similar kind of skill.

There are a lot of cultural heritage 3D digitisation projects starting up all over the place, but often museums and institutions don't have the in house skills to create such content - that's where I'd see you stepping in.

Bear in mind that museums etc. (in UK at least) are hardly overflowing with funds and often have limitations on how they can spend their money (on certain collections, within in certain regions). It feels like if you can tap into specific projects as the "3D guy" you'll be able to work your way in.

Speaking from my own experience, some work I have done has been volunteer based (to whet an institution's appetite for 3D!), but now (2 years since starting this kind of work) I am getting paid work digitising museum objects and providing training to museum staff here in London. I derive income from other skills too though (video, audio, web design)

A company I've set up with a couple of friends, Museum in a Box, is working on the "we've got some 3D, now what?" question. It's useful to explain to museum staff how 3D content can be used and re-used, especially when you are speaking with management etc. who ultimately make decisions about budgets but may have little knowledge of the processes and opportunities.

As with any freelance work, it can take a while to get going/build a client list and you need to get the word out about who you are and what you do. The more contacts you have the better then, when people call you up, you should be ready to say "okay I can do X, Y, Z for you, it'll cost you this much (insert massive fee here :wink: )"

I hope that's useful, best of luck with your endeavors!

(James Uk) #5

Hey thankyou hugely for the reply, I've seen your work quite a bit! I did check out your project at some point before and it's a really good point on selling the idea; I'm a VR and 3D printing enthusiast myself so I love this whole thing of bringing it to the next level. On that note I think 'Museum in a Box' looks brilliant :wink: We didn't do anything like that when I went to school and we almost never had school outings.

I did wonder whether they do photoscanning in house or not considering the skill set being a feasible for us but probably too much of a time investment for anyone else.

I have sold models I made of woodland scans and found there's decent demand for them in videogames but there would be some really tricky licensing to get permission to scan and use museum artefacts, and this was my idea for cutting out the whole problem of small museum budgets. The plus side would be no cost to the museum for the services since I could earn money from videogame model derivative sales but understandably even if I got a contract written up I wouldn't blame museums for not wanting their artefacts in anyone's commercial video game and I must admit it's probably not the best of ideas in that regard(?).

I'm not in the worst position financially (still living at home!) so I do have time on my side and have thought about doing some volunteer work to start with so it's really good to read someones experience of actually doing this. I think working on commercial side projects and breaking in this way could be the answer. Thankyou again for the awesome reply, I think it's pen and paper time so I can make a new game plan :smile:

(Monumentmen) #7

Hey James - just wondering what part of the UK you're in?

We're currently working on some project's that will be receiving Heritage Lottery Funding in a short while, and are working with archives and museum services in Wigan, Manchester and the North West.

I'm not often on the forum here (reminds me to start checking it more often!) but feel free to hit me up at monumentmen[dot]initial[at]gmail[dot]com

Definitely would like to learn some more about photoscan, and would love to host you up here if you're up soon - I've not really liked in with the UK sketchfab community really short of saying hello to Thomas and trying to contact Bart to meet up during my amsterdam visit at the end of the month.

Be good to hear from some more people and share some knowledge!



(James Uk) #8

Sorry for the late reply! I didn't see this :o I'm in the South East unfortunately, otherwise that sounds awesome. If you still want to learn more on photoscanning in general and Photoscan I did end up writing a book on it all, I'm soon to update it to a slightly more refined second edition too :wink:

If you have funding then you could go the ZBrush Core route and use that instead of the software I use to speed things up. Here's a workflow for that, although it leaves out a bunch on the intricacies on photographing your objects -

I'll keep an eye out for MonumentMen :smiley:

(Vlad) #9

Do not agree. Using ZBrush for just fixing scan models is like use supercomputer for hammering nails.
This is OK if you already 3D artist and perfectly know zBrush with it weird alien UX. Than clean up scan is just common task for you.
But if you need learn new app just for repair fix scan, i strongly recommend 3D-Coat. It have well understandable UI/UX. And have some good points, that you can fix only required part of model, without retopo/reprojection all multimillion mesh.