WORKFLOWS AND THE ROLE OF IMAGES FOR VIRTUAL 3D RECONSTRUCTION OF NO LONGER EXTANT HISTORIC OBJECTS
3D reconstruction technologies have gained importance as tools for the research and visualization of no longer extant historic objects during the last decade. Within such reconstruction processes, visual media assumes several important roles: as the most important sources especially for a reconstruction of no longer extant objects, as a tool for communication and cooperation within the production process, as well as for a communication and visualization of results. While there are many discourses about theoretical issues of depiction as sources and as visualization outcomes of such projects, there is no systematic research about the importance of depiction during a 3D reconstruction process and based on empirical findings. Moreover, from a methodological perspective, it would be necessary to understand which role visual media plays during the production process and how it is affected by disciplinary boundaries and challenges specific to historic topics. Research includes an analysis of published work and case studies investigating reconstruction projects. This study uses methods taken from social sciences to gain a grounded view of how production processes would take place in practice and which functions and roles images would play within them. For the investigation of these topics, a content analysis of 452 conference proceedings and journal articles related to 3D reconstruction modeling in the field of humanities has been completed. Most of the projects described in those publications dealt with data acquisition and model building for existing objects. Only a small number of projects focused on structures that no longer or never existed physically. Especially that type of project seems to be interesting for a study of the importance of pictures as sources and as tools for interdisciplinary cooperation during the production process. In the course of the examination the authors of this paper applied a qualitative content analysis for a sample of 26 previously published project reports to depict strategies and types and three case studies of 3D reconstruction projects to evaluate evolutionary processes during such projects. The research showed that reconstructions of no longer existing historic structures are most commonly used for presentation or research purposes of large buildings or city models. Additionally, they are often realized by interdisciplinary workgroups using images as the most important source for reconstruction as far as important media for communication and quality control during the reconstruction process.