Category Archives: Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo

Notte dei Ricercatori 2017

Anche quest’anno ci troverete nel cortile di Palazzo d’Accursio a Bologna in occasione della Notte dei Ricercatori.

Venerdì 29 settembre, tramite la piramide olografica, i cardboard glasses e i video potrete vedere una serie di applicazioni legate a progetti realizzati dal Laboratorio Visit nel contesto dei beni culturali: da MUVI – Museo Virtuale della Vita Quotidiana ai poliedri del pittore Lucio Saffaro, dalla ricostruzione virtuale dello studiolo di Isabella d’Este al progetto Europeo Horizon2020 I-Media-Cities sugli archivi cinematografici (Innovative e-environments for research on cities and the media).

Vi aspettiamo!


Si parla di fotogrammetria a Super Quark

La prima puntata di SuperQuark della stagione 2017 è stata per noi una splendida occasione per aiutare a spiegare la tecnica fotogrammetrica di modellazione 3D e parlare di alcuni progetti di Cultural Heritage che abbiamo realizzato sfruttando questa tecnica.
In particolare abbiamo avuto modo di mostrare il progetto Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo.


Siamo molto contenti che la regia abbia scelto di coinvolgerci e che i giovani del laboratorio abbiano avuto l’occasione di mostrarsi nelle loro attività.

Trovate la puntata completa sul sito di Rai play

Il video Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo ha vinto!

Il premio del pubblico online del Future Film Short è andato quest’anno al nostro video Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo!!
Un grande GRAZIE a tutti voi che ci avete votato permettendoci di vincere!

Antonella e Giovanni sul palco del Future Film Festival insieme a Giulietta Fara e Oscar Cosulich, oranizzatori della manifestazione


Per tutti voi, amici, stiamo organizzando un evento. Stay tuned!!

Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo al Future Film Short

E anche quest’anno siamo contentissimi di annunciarvi che Isabella d’Este Virtual sudiolo, the video è stata accettato al concorso Future Film Shorts, la sezione del Future Film Festival dedicata ai cortometraggi di animazione.


Il corto sarà visibile durante il Future Film Festival la sera di venerdì 5 maggio, ore 22.30, e sabato 6 maggio, ore 10.00, e sul sito del Festival da oggi al 6 maggio a mezzanotte per il concorso online di Future Film Shorts.

vota adesso
Nel corso di questi giorni, infatti, anche il pubblico del web potrà votare.


Quindi.. Votate! Votate! Votate!

Sharing is caring: VisitLab 3D models free on BlendSwap

During the last few months, VisitLab has started to share on Blend Swap some of the 3D models realised for the projects.
Until now, 5 items were shared:

white board

Etruscan lopas

breakfast table set

  • and an assembly line with 4 different machines suggesting the performance of archaeological analysis with X ray; thermoluminescence; carbon dating; chromatography


All these models were created for the short educational movie Ati e la paleodieta mediterranea

If you are having problems, please use this link

created for Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo

More models will come. So, stay tuned!

How to: a sealing wax stamp animation in Blender

If you are having problems, please use this link

In this tutorial you are going to discover how to:

  • use fluids for dropping sealing wax
  • manually animate the spreading of the wax
  • use modifiers to impress a seal
  • define a realistic wax effect


Are you longing to get a result similar to the one presented in our demo video?
If we have managed to put up a good tutorial, you should be able to. Otherwise, contact us, and we will apologize for our poor communication skills.
Let us start.


First of all we created 3 UV spheres with different size and shape. One of the spheres was a little bit sculpted in order to modify its shape. Selection_001The fluid coming from the spheres is initialized with three different starting speeds. The first and second wax drops move a little bit up, along the Z, before going down. In this way, we simulate a diachronic fall.
(A possible solution with a movement of the spheres in the domain was discarded as deemed unsatisfactory)



The plane is set as an obstacle. Its parameters are shown in the image (no slip). Both plane and spheres are Fluid (physics)



  • In order to simulate the wax density: base 2, exponent 3 in the viscosity parameters
  • For avoiding excessive spreading of the wax on the paper: Slip type -> no slip
  • To obtain a Slow motion effect: Speed 0.3
  • After several attempts we discovered that the parameter that suited us better for the Real World Size is 0.4 meters for the domain
  • To obtain a wax-style fluid Smoothing is set at 4


Bake a test simulation with a final resolution of 100-150 to see if there is something wrong. When you get a first result of the wax spreading correctly, bake the definitive version with a final resolution of 200-400.


Now that the wax is on the paper we want to smooth it even more, so we add a Corrective smooth modifier with parameters:

  • Only smooth
  • Factor between 1-1.2
  • Repeat at 50-80


When the simulation slows down, stop the animation (for example at frame 220) and duplicate the wax object. Press “Esc” for keeping it still and put it on another layer. To fix the copy and transform it into a mesh with that shape, apply the Fluidsim modifier.


For your convenience, re-name the two objects. We named the first one wax-sim and the second one wax-fixed.

Swapping the two wax objects

In order to swap the two objects during the animation, you have to animate the visibility.

  • Place yourself where you stopped the animation earlier. In our case, at frame 220.
  • Select object n. 1 (wax-sim).
  • In the outliner, animate visibility and rendering as enabled by placing the mouse cursor on each relative symbol and clicking on the “i” key.
  • Go to frame 221, disable them and animate as before (mouse cursor on and “i” key)

In order to show the second object (wax-fixed):

  • Go back to frame 220
  • Animate visibility and rendering as disabled.


  • At frame 221 enable and animate them. That is, make the opposite of the previous steps


Here is a GIF presenting the entire process for swapping the objects.


Refinements with Shape keys

For concealing the swap between a moving fluid object and the static wax one we used a couple of shape keys, a suitable tool for giving the final touch to the shape of the wax drop.
In order to work on the real mesh, the corrective smooth modifier is temporarily reduced from a factor of 1.2 to a factor of 0.01.
Hence, for smoothing by hand the surface and give a faint persistency of the spreading effect, two shape keys are created: smooth and grow.



Shape key smooth – for reducing the roughness of the surface without the use of the Corrective smooth modifier, we can use sculpt with the smooth brush.

Shape key grow – by using the sculpt tool the shape of the drop is a little bit enlarged and rounded off, for simulating the last phases of the spreading of the wax on the surface. For this aim, a wide enough grab brush will do the job.

shape key grow

shape key smooth

Once this phase is concluded, we can take the corrective smooth modifier back to a factor of 1.2.

Animation of shape keys

It is time to animate the two shape keys in opposition to the corrective smooth modifier by gradually reducing the modifier(from 1.2 to 0.01) while increasing the shape keys grow and smooth (from 0 to 1).
This animation starts for us at frame 221
The animation of the shape key grow will last longer in comparison to the transition occurring between corrective smooth and shape key smooth.
When the transition of the corrective smooth is concluded, by reaching a factor of 0.01, the displace animation starts, in the picture from frame 271 to 310.

Impress the seal

For the displacement animation we activate 3 modifiers:

  • Subdivision surface (with levels as shown in the image);
  • Displace (important is the creation of an empty for correctly positioning the seal in the displace);
  • Subdivision surface (again).


At this point, animate the strength from 0 to 0,025.
Be careful with the Subdivison levels in the view because the mesh will be very heavy.


The texture is in black/white and the levels of gray define the height of the displacement relief.
For simulating the shift of the wax due to the impression of the seal, these levels are higher (i.e. whiter) near the border of the seal and soften towards a slightly darker shade of gray in the area beyond.


In the image, the configuration for the shader “wax”:


For this tutorial we used the first seal we stumbled upon (and not one of Isabelle d’Este, for which video-trailer we have this wax sealing impression done).
It happened to be from a Football Club and we hope no one will consider it as a precise stance of our Laboratory.

If you will have problems in following our tutorial, please leave your comments below and we will try to help.

Un nuovo fantasmagorico progetto: Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo

Il VisitLab è felice di introdurre i lettori del suo blog ad un nuovo progetto. Lasciamoci guidare in questo viaggio dalle parole di  Deanna Shemek, capo progetto di Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo:

My visit to Cineca last month was really amazing. I’m from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and I went to Cineca’s Visit Lab in March to meet with a team of super-smart people there. Together we are building an immersive, virtual recreation of the famous Renaissance studiolo of Isabella d’Este.

Isabella d'Este

Isabella d’Este, Tiziano, 1534-1536, Olio su tela, 102×64 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation gave us money to make a short film about our project, to help us find more funding to build it.

Isabella led an active life, especially for a woman of the sixteenth century. She married Francesco II Gonzaga, marchese of Mantua in 1490 and governed their city state with him. In her spare time, she commissioned and played music by important composers like Tromboncino and Cara. She ran a perfume pharmacy and grew her own flowers for those products. She collected art and antiquities, and showed them off in her special space, her camerini, also known as the studiolo and grotta. A lot of her paintings, sculptures, and other beautiful things are now in museums around the world, and we are working together to put as much of it as we can back together, so people around the world can visit the studiolo virtually.


This is Giovanni, the film director at Visit Lab. He has a lot of good ideas.



We got right to work, talking about our plans. How can we tell people about the Virtual Studiolo in a film of just 2 minutes?


Virtual theatre

Then we went into Cineca’s virtual theater to look at the models they have made so far. This is Mission Control. Antonella and Daniele set up the model for me to look at.


Virtual Theatre 2

Virtual Studiolo nel Virtual Theatre

Maria Chiara joined us, and we took a look at the photogrammetry model they have made of the real Studiolo, in the Palazzo Ducale of Mantua.


Studiolo 3D

There are lots of working phases in the process (mainly involving Blender)


Virtual Studiolo work in progress

Wow, they can even turn the studiolo inside-out!


Antonella & Deanna

We talked about our next steps.


Working group

We like it, so far! I can’t wait to see what comes next.


Fermi Supercomputer

And before I go, I get to meet the big guys: This is the supercomputer hardware room. I’m standing next to Fermi
Maybe these were made in California, but the Virtual Studiolo will be Made in Italy!
Thanks, Antonella, Maria Chiara, Daniele, and Giovanni!

Grazie a te, Deanna.

Continuate a seguirci per altri aggiornamenti sul progetto.