Animation of two-dimensional pictorial works into multipurpose three-dimensional object. The Atlas of the ships of the known world depicted in the 1460 Fra Mauro’s Mappa Mundi as a showcase


This paper reports the preliminary results of an ongoing interdisciplinary research in digital humanities and animation that the authors are undertaking to explore how a new generation of three-dimensional (3D) non-photorealistic animated visualisations can improve upon two-dimensional (2D) visualisation methods. The outcomes of this research are enhancing both the studies and the user experience of digital representations of pictorial works that are seen as visual aggregators of human knowledge and experiences, because the sketching style and techniques of the artists are fully reproduced and made available to different interpretations. The mid-fifteenth-century atlas of the ships of the known world depicted in the Fra Mauro’s mappa mundi (Venice, Marciana National Library) has been used to: 1) showcase the design process and techniques of an innovative method through the prototyping of a 3D non-photorealistic-rendering (NPR) model of one ship, and 2) demonstrate the effectiveness of this method through the 3D NPR animation of all Fra Mauro’s ships as a contribution to both the advancement of learning in pre-modern maritime history (with a focus on shipping), and the implementation of NPR for the creative industry. These models are multiple purpose, because once they are created and implemented, the data can be displayed in different platforms (e.g., smart device, computer or larger flat screen, holographic pyramid, virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing).


Digital Humanities, 3D Animation, Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR), Visual knowledge aggregation, Fra Mauro’s mappa mundi, Atlas of the ships of the pre-modern world, Maritime history

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