Sketchfab Blog 06052020

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Michel Hilbert: Recording Erzgebirge's Cultural Heritage

About Me

Hello everybody. My name is Michel Hilbert and I have been involved in the recording of cultural heritage in the Erzgebirge in Germany for 5 years. Through my membership in a regional mining association, I have been able to get in touch with the history and the contrasts of my homeland. At the beginning of my work, I was confronted with the challenge of documenting the cultural heritage in the Erzgebirge, which is characterized extensively by mining. As a result, I came across the method of structure-from-motion photogrammetry to create 3D models. Besides old mines, I mainly work on the recording of old expiation crosses and boundary stones. The important thing for me when shooting 3D models is a connection to my home in the Erzgebirge.


For me, it is important to document these inconspicuous and hidden testimonies of our time and to make them accessible to the public. Old historical maps and regional literature serve as a basis for my work. Often, however, the choice of a new 3D model arises spontaneously during a walk through the forest. My future goal is to make as many other cultural monuments of my homeland as possible available to the public free of charge.


For the creation of my 3D models, I mainly use the all-in-one software 3DF Zephyr Free. The processing is done in a workflow and has lower hardware requirements compared to other software products. In my case, when creating 3D models, a distinction must be made between the recording of underground mines and the recording of cultural monuments above ground. When shooting 3D models of mines, the correct exposure time of the camera, the weight of the camera and the choice of the right flashlight play an important role. For this reason, I use my smartphone Huawei P30 Pro for the recordings. The requirements aboveground are much lower. It is important to wait for suitable lighting conditions.


Publishing via Sketchfab gives me the opportunity to make my 3D models available to people with less technical affinity. 3D models run very smoothly on both desktop PCs and smartphones and can be shared with little effort. A large number of photogrammetry software products also offer direct upload to Sketchfab.

The Future of 3D Scanning

I don’t see the future of 3D recording of cultural monuments in structure-from-motion, but instead, I see it in creating 3D models directly on the smartphone. Important here is the establishment of “Time of Flight” (TOF) sensors and the further development of techniques like Google ARCore or ARKit. A great app for this is the 3D Scanner for ARCore by Lubos Vonasek, which also allows direct export of the created 3D models to Sketchfab. The app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

Thank you very much for your interest.

Many greetings! Michel Hilbert