All Hallows was the old church of Inchinnan (Renfrewshire, Scotland). Built in 1900 to replace the previous church, it was in use until 1965, when it was demolished to allow for the extension of the airfield at Abbotsinch.
As part of our collaboration with the Inchinnan Historical Interest Group, we created a virtual reconstruction of the lost building, with the aim of reproducing the original All Hallows church as closely as possible through 3D modeling. In order to create this reproduction, we had to rely on historical documentation such as plans and photographs.
For the virtual reconstruction we used Blender, an open source 3D creation suite. The 3D model of the church was created with the web in mind, and was optimised for a low polygon count to make it viewable online. Other than that, the process followed the standard procedures for this kind of reconstruction:
- Documentation Stage: Gathering all available historical documentation.
- Modeling Stage: Using simple shapes, we started modeling the building. The windows, rosette window, and other complex details were first drawn using vectorial design software, and then exported to Blender for an easier integration.
- Material and Texturing Stage: During this stage, we aimed to make the texture and appearance match the original as close as possible. We relied on a combination of physical remains preserved at the new church, as well as the oral histories of Inchinnan’s residents who remember All Hallows.
The foundations of the building were modeled based on the church’s floor plans. The rest of the information was sourced from photographs of varying quality. Due to the varying quality of source material, the accuracy of the reconstruction is not the same for all of the elements of the building.
To represent the different levels of historical accuracy visually, we used a colour scale (the one proposed by Pablo Aparicio and César Figueiredo), which uses a range from cold colours (lower level of certainty) to warmer colours (higher level). As such, the foundation is the part of the building we are most certain of, due to the availability of floor plans (degree 8 – orange), whereas the rest of the building depends on the visual evidence that the photographs provide. From the walls (degree 7 – yellow) to the roof (degree 5 – green), including other parts of the church or the environment where the information is limited and therefore has a lower level of certainty (represented by the range of blues). It is important to point out that since the original building no longer exists, the 3D model will always be a representation, with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, that can be updated in the future, if new archaeological or historical data become available.
Now that the virtual reconstruction is finished, it can serve as a way to share the value of the lost original church. From the 3D model we generated artistic, photorealistic images from different angles, some trying to replicate the angle of some of the original photographs, and others from new perspectives. We also created orthophotos, and 3D interactive models.
3D Interactive Model: