This application enables the creation of a high quality 3D model of an archaeological artefact via process known as photo-masking. There has been a revolution in 3D modelling in recent years and it is now relatively easy to construct such models from ordinary digital photographs. Isolating the object depicted in these photographs, and masking out the background, is an important first step to achieving high quality results. The final 3D model will be made publicly available and is useful not only for basic documentation purposes, but also for graphical displays in museums, for inclusion in gaming and virtual reality environments, or for identifing different sub-styles in otherwise similar types of artefact (that might tell us about the date of the artefact, where it was made, or by whom).
This particular photo-masking application is dedicated to one object hosted by UCL Petrie Museum - an Egyptian funerary figure, also known as a shabti. This small mould-made pale green faience shabti is inscribed with the name of the owner, Djed-khonsu-iwf-ankh. The standing figure is mummy-like in shape and wears a wig with a filet tied in the back. Shabtis like this one were made to carry out any tasks, particularly agricultural chores, that the deceased might be asked to do in the afterlife. For this reason, he carries a hoe in each hand and has a basket slung over his shoulder. The figure was probably found at Abydos and dates to the 22nd Dynasty (946/45 - about 735 BC). This is one of a group of 13 similar shabtis in the museum belonging to this individual although other examples from this group are also in other museums.
We would like people to draw a polygon around the shabti that they see in each photograph in order to identify its outline and exclude the image background. This allows the 3D modelling process to concentrate on the object itself and ignore irrelevant background information.
Jeff Okazaki, Leland Sorenson, Latifa Walker, Joellen mcGann, Martí Blesa, Helena Jaeschke, Nicky van de Beek, Valeria Vitale, Dina and other anonymous contributors.