3D Modelling Selected Air Canada Promotional Materials from the 1960s

Well, after a few weeks hiatus HIST 5702x is back. We’ve spent the last few weeks doing research at the Canadian Aviation Museum’s archives, and creating 3D models of our artifacts from the Science & Tech Museum’s Air Canada collection. My classmates have been modelling artifacts like stewardess and ground crew uniforms, and a model of the Air Canada Expo ’67 pavilion. These objects might lend themselves to the creation of more successful 3D models; however my objects from the collection–two credit cards used for in-flight purchases during the 1960s–posed a bit of a problem because they were, well, flat.

So, how do you make a 3D model out of a flat artifact? One of the things that we tried to do was mount the credit card on a plinth and then photograph it from 360 degrees. I used the iPhone application for 123dCatch to create a model of the credit cards. It took a while for the models to render (using this app on an iPad or desktop is much faster FYI), yet this was the end result:

One of the Air Canada credit cards from the 1960s

One of the Air Canada credit cards from the 1960s

The front turned out really well, however the back was obscured by the clear plastic plinth that we used to prop the card up. I’m not sure if this will be usable for our project, but we still may be able to figure something out in Meshlab (perhaps). The other two Air Canada credit cards turned out pretty much the exact same as this one.

We also tried to create a model of a small toy DC-8 airplane. This was our only actual object that we thought would produce a decent 3D model. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and the surface of the model was very blurry. This may have been because the plane was made of a shinier plastic, which, as we learned a few weeks ago, does not produce good models in 123dCatch.

Photo of the 3D model of the toy airplane

Photo of the 3D model of the toy airplane

All of these models need to be edited in Meshlab to cut out the background so all that remains is the model. As of yet, I still do not know how to use Mehslab, but I will play around with it and find some good YouTube tutorials to figure it all out. This will be a new adventure in the process of creating 3D models!

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