The Konica Minolta Vivid 9i 3-D LASER scanner has been used to create better computer graphics in movies such as Bolt and The Golden Compass. It was also used to make online museums, such as the Virtual Hampson Museum, with 3-D images of every artifact. Now NCPTT will expand its use into the preservation field.

Animating 3-D images like in the movies is not on our agenda. Instead, we are planning to use the 3-D images to show changes in the structure and color of the object. This instrument will give us an accurate representation of surfaces, which would allow us to see stone decay such as in our SO2 studies. It could also serve a role similar to GIS in mapping of analyses. One potential downfall with this machine is that color accuracy is lighting dependent. To counteract that, we would need to create the exact same lighting on every scan to get accurate data. The scanner has problems with bright sunlight and shiny or black objects due to its use of a laser. It will not recognize black or shiny objects, viewing them as empty space. However, we can counter act this by dusting the objects with a powder so that the laser will recognize them.

Eager to learn our new piece of equipment, we received our first dose of training from Bryan Bond, Technical Sales Manager for Konica Minolta. After an hour of showing us how to setup the equipment for scanning, Bryan gave a brief rundown of how to use the program Polygon Editing Tool. We were then able to begin scanning various objects around the office.

Bryan Bond demonstrates the scanner on a frog figurine.

Bryan Bond demonstrates the scanner on a frog figurine.

First, we created a 3-D image from a frog figurine in about 10 minutes. We only captured the shape of the frog, not attempting to capture its color. The first attempt to capture color created a 3-D image of a Bob’s Big Boy figurine. The black hair of the figurine was missing due to absorption of the laser. The scanner recognized it as empty space, but we should be able to dust it with powder and do some editing to fill in the missing data once we’ve had training in the Geomagic software. NCPTT’s Mary Striegel and Jason Church will be attending a training seminar on the Geomagic software next week. This software will allow us to edit our scans so that we can create complete 3-D images.

Overall, this was an insightful experience, and one that left us wondering ‘what else can we do with this scanner?’

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119