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Section: New Results

Approximate Reconstruction of 3D Scenes From Bas-Reliefs

Figure 5. 3D interpretation of the mythological story of Hylas and the Water Nymphs, after a bas-relief marble by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1833). Hylas was sent to fetch water for the camp. Finding a pool in a clearing, he was encircled by water nymphs reaching up to kiss him and there disappeared with them forever. Using hand-drawn silhouette shapes and 2D skeletons of the four characters, we compute a plausible 3D reconstruction of the scene with rigged and skinned models suitable for 3D animation.

For thousands of years, bas-reliefs such as the one depicted in Figure 5 have been used to depict scenes of everyday life, mythology and historic events. Yet, the precise geometry of those scenes remains difficult to interpret and reconstruct. Over the past decade, methods have been developed for generating bas-reliefs from 3D scenes. With this work, we investigate the inverse problem of interpreting and reconstructing 3D scenes from their bas-relief depictions. Even approximate reconstructions can be useful for art historians and museum exhibit designers, as a first entry to the complete interpretation of the narratives told in stone or marble. To create such approximate reconstructions, we present methods for extracting 3D base mesh models of all characters depicted in a bas-relief. We take advantages of the bas-relief geometry and high-level knowledge of human body proportions to recover body parts and their three-dimensional structure, even in severe cases of contact and occlusion. We present experimental results for 6 bas-relief depictions of Greek mythological and historical scenes involving 18 characters and draw conclusions for future work.