Using Pedestal 3D

Several hundred 3D models of stone tools are available in the Museum of Stone Tools for you to explore.  A variety of virtual tools are available to help you get the most out of this experience.  These are described here with instructions on how to use them.

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    Simple rotation

    To rotate the model on your computer screen, move the hand-shaped mouse icon over the model, left-mouse click and drag. You can also use the arrow keys to rotate the model. To slide the model on the screen (which is useful when you zoom in), right-mouse click and drag. To zoom in, use the wheel on your mouse. For a list of alternative keyboard (and other) commands, click the ‘?’ box at the the top left of the viewing window.

    If you click on the box at the top right, the model opens in full-screen view.

    Handy hint: Sometimes when you make lots of changes in rotation axes, lighting, etc., you may want to escape and revert everything back to the way it was when you first opened the model. You can do this by going into the Tools menu in the sidebar and clicking Recentre Camera and Reset Camera, which brings back certain default settings. Another option is to close and reopen the model; it will revert to the default settings when reopened.

    Tools box keyboard commands 2

    Opening the sidebar

    The sidebar menu may be hidden when you open a model.  Click on the arrow in the upper left-hand corner, and the menu items will appear, including Information, Transform, Surface, Lighting, Annotations, and Tools.

    A basic description of how to use these follows, but not every tool is described in detail.  The best way to learn about the features is to try them out.

    Sidebar 1 2


    Information includes one or two Description boxes. The top Description is a short identification of the artefact type. The bottom Description provides more detail about the artefact.

    The Details box includes the User (the person who manages the model), the Author (the person who made the model), the copyright license, and the date the model was uploaded to Pedestal. If you click on the license type, it will take you to a website describing how you can lawfully use the model. This clickable link--and links to other resources appearing in the Description--appear in green font.

    The files for many of the public domain models can be downloaded by clicking the Download Files button at the bottom of the menu. The models hosted on Pedestal are good for screen viewing but may not be of ideal quality for 3D printing. Contact the Curator if the high-resolution version is required.

    Information 2


    The Transform menu gives you information on the size of the object and provides a special tool for rotating the model.

    Grid Floor Style allows you to display a scale grid under the model. The default setting is None. Click on Checkerboard and a gray and white checkerboard background appears under the model. The scale of the grid squares are specified under Base Dimensions. If you click on Lines, the grid converts to lines without shaded squares. The grid floor is like a scale bar and offers a quick way to gauge the size of the object.

    The X-Y-Z dimensions of the model appear next to it. These axes are determined by the way the model was oriented when it was uploaded. Click on the colour bars in the upper right-hand corner and the model will automatically rotate to that measurement axis, so you can see how the axis relates to the artefact.

    You can change the units of measurements under Base Dimensions, to the right of the Unit label. The drop-down menu provides lots of measurement units, including the metric system (millimetres, centimetres) and the imperial system (inches, feet) to two decimal places. Note that the smaller the scale you use, the more precise the measurement. The measurements are made using the point cloud composing the model. In most cases the measurements were automatically calibrated by the model software and the measurements are very accurate. In some cases, the model’s scale was calibrated when it was uploaded to Pedestal using a gross measurement; these measurements are ‘ballpark’ only. In these cases, a 'scale approximate' note has been added to the Description.

    Checkerbox 2

    Translation and Rotation

    The Translation and Rotation menu allows you to move the model very accurately. The Move Tool allows you to slide the model up and down or left and right relative to the grid and the measurement axes. It also moves the model in relation to the point around which it rotates.

    The Rotate Tool allows you to precisely move the model to the view that you want. This is not always possible when rotating the model in the normal view space because of the default rotation point. If there’s a corner of the model you can’t quite reach using the normal rotation, you can rotate it using the Rotate Tool to better see that corner. Click Reset Rotation to return to the default rotation axes.

    Moving the blue diamond flips the model end-over-end (Z-axis). The green diamond (Y-axis) spins the model to the right or left. The red diamond (X-axis) rotates the model clockwise or counterclockwise.

    Rotate tool 2


    The Surface menu allows you to change the surface texture and appearance of the model.  With 3D models, the natural surface appearance is draped over the point-cloud mesh.  If the natural surface data was of suitable quality when the model was uploaded, the natural surface is shown by default.  If not, the default is shown in a white or silver render.

    The Use Texture buttons let you switch the render between Image (showing what the actual surface of the object looks like) or None (showing a silver surface).  The silver render shows all the surface detail, but not the natural colours.  It can be useful to turn off the Image render to see the flake scar patterns, as natural colours can sometime distract from seeing them properly.  You will often see the natural colours removed in published screen captures of 3D models because the analyst is illustrating the attributes of the flake scars, rather than the natural colours.

    The slide bars (Smoothness, Specular Intensity, and Metalness) allow you to change the surface textures and render.  This can be useful for visualising surface details in different ways and can be used in combination with adjustments to the Lighting (see below).  You can move quickly between the opposite sides of the artefact by clicking the Surface Orientation between Normal and Flipped.

    Clicking on Reset Surface Properties will return the model to the original settings.

    Surface 2


    You can also change the way the model looks using the tools under the Lighting menu.  The default Light Positions is Stuck to Camera.  This lights the object as if a lamp were in a fixed position, and you can see the shadows move across the object as it is rotated.  If you choose Stationary, it freezes the lighting in one position.  Stuck to Camera is the most useful when closely inspected a stone tool model.

    You can adjust the lighting in many different ways using the Presets and Lights options, and the Intensity slider bar.  The best way to learn about these options is to play around with them.

    Note that to change Colour under Lights changes the tint of the model, which may be useful, for example, when using the silver-rendered models in illustrations for an essay or report.

    The default model background is black in most cases because the black background provides the best contrast for viewing the models.  However, you can change the background colour under Environment Colours - Background.

    Lighting and colour 2


    The Annotations tool provides a guided tour of some of the artefact’s interesting attributes. Attributes are pinned, and you can see all the pins when you enter the Annotations menu. The slider bar at the top allows you to make the pins larger or smaller.

    Each pin is labelled in the Annotations List. Click on the eye symbol and the model will automatically rotate to show that pin. The description of the pinned attribute appears when you click on the eye symbol. Alternatively, you can click directly on the pin on the model. If the eyes in the menu list are clicked sequentially, this gives you a guided tour of the artefact.

    The annotations were chosen to highlight features of significance for that tool type or good examples of attributes expressed on the tool.

    Annotations 2


    The Tools menu provides a variety of features for analysing a model in detail and for presenting models in essays and talks.

    The Camera Control tool allows you to return the model to the default position:  click Reset Camera and/or Recentre Camera.

    Auto Rotate causes the model to rotate automatically. The axis of rotation is set by clicking one of the three options, and the speed of rotation can be set using the slider bar. To stop the rotation, click the option a second time. The Auto Rotate function can be used in conjunction with video screen shots using your computer software. The video of the rotating artefact can be used to spice up PowerPoint and other types of multimedia presentations.

    The Measuring tool is digital calliper for recording dimensions. First figure out what dimension you wish to measure on the artefact, and position the model for measuring by rotating and zooming in. Next click Start Ruler, and a pin will appear when you move the cursor over the artefact. Crosshairs appear at the tip of the pin: position the centre of the crosshairs over the starting point of your measurement, and click. Now drag across to the ending point of your measurement with the next pin (it automatically appears), position the crosshairs, and click again. A scale bar will appear between the two pins with the dimension shown. To change the unit of measurement, see the instructions under Transform. Use the slider bars to change the sizes the pins and measurement font.

    When you take your first measurement it will appear in a list under Rulers as ‘Ruler 1’. Subsequent measurements will appear sequentially. To hide the ruler bar on the model, click the eye icon (the measurement remains visible in the Rulers list, as do the pins at either end of each measurement). You can toggle between visible and hidden ruler bars using the eye icons. To delete the measurement entirely, click the X. All of the pins and scale bars will be deleted if you click Clear All Measurements And Pins.

    Once you have collected your measurements, you can click Export Rulers and the data will automatically download into a csv file which can be opened in Excel, Numbers, or other spreadsheet software. To create a visual record of where the measurements were taken, click the Take Screenshot bar at the bottom of the menu (be sure to make the ruler bars unhidden).

    Measurements 3

    The Cross Section tool cuts the model so you can see the cross section at any location and at any angle. Start by resetting the model view to the default position with the Reset Camera and Recentre Camera buttons at the top of the menu. Next click on -Z. This cuts the model along the Z (lengthwise) axis and hides the left half. The +Z hides the right half. Now choose the +Z option and rotate the model so that you can see the cut face—you are looking at the precise cross-section at that point on the artefact, shaded in red by default (the colour can be changed using the Inside Colour tool). The X and Y buttons bisect the model along those axes.

    The Outline and Outline Colour tools allow you to draw a boundary around the section profile and change the colour of the boundary line. The Grid tool draws a grid across the section in the chosen measurement unit.

    You can use the measurement tool on this cross section, precisely recording the object’s thickness at the selected location. The area of the section, and the perimeter measurement, are given at the bottom of the menu.

    The X-Y-Z buttons cut the object along these axes, but dragging the dot on the sphere changes the axis of the cross section to any position. By dragging the Offset slide bar, you can move the section line progressively down the tool, and you can see how the shape of the section changes along various artefact axes.

    Cross section 2

    The Screenshot tool is useful for taking photos of the model that can be used for PowerPoint presentations or in reports and essays. Click Take Screenshot and a menu will appear where you can choose the desired resolution. The highlighted bounding box on the model shows what will appear in the screenshot. Click Screenshot and the photo will be taken and downloaded onto your computer.

    For orthographic projections, rotate the model to the next view, and take another screenshot, and so on. The images can then be cropped and assembled into the final version using graphics software or in PowerPoint. For precise orthographic rotation, use the Rotate Tool under the Transform menu. You may want to change the background from black to white by clicking Background under the Lighting menu.

    The orthographic projection shown here was assembled from 64 x 64 resolution screen captures of the 3D model. I first set the background to white under the Lighting menu, then took the first screen shot using the Screenshot tool. I next used the Rotate Tool in the Transform menu to precisely rotate the model to the next view, and repeated the screenshot. I took the four projection images in this way, then I took a fifth image with the Checkerboard option turned on under the Transform menu. I then sized, cropped, and assembled the first four images in PowerPoint. I next sized the image with the checkerboard to match the others, drew a line along the checkerboard equivalent to 50 mm, then deleted that image. The line serves as a bar scale for the orthographic projection. The process took about 20 minutes.

    Orthographic projection 1