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Open AccessArticle

A Digital Reconstruction of a Historical Building and Virtual Reintegration of Mural Paintings to Create an Interactive and Immersive Experience in Virtual Reality

1
Higher School of Engineering and Technology, Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain
2
Artwork Analysis and Documentation Service (SADOA-SEGAI), Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain
3
Department of Techniques and Projects in Engineering, Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10020597
Received: 29 October 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Reality and Its Application in Cultural Heritage)
Nowadays, virtual reality technologies and immersive virtual reality (VR) apps allow people to view, explore, engage with and learn about historic monuments and buildings, historic sites, and even historic scenes. To preserve our cultural heritage for future generations. it is essential that damaged and dilapidated historic artefacts are accurately documented, and that steps are taken to improve user experiences in the areas of virtual visits, science and education. This paper describes an approach to reconstruct and restore historic buildings and mural paintings. The work process uses digital models that are then inserted into an interactive and immersive VR environment. Windows-Mixed Reality is used to visualize the said VR environment. The work method was applied at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), thereby creating a virtual three dimensional (3D) rendering of the architectural structures of the St Augustine Church in La Laguna and its murals. A combination of topography and terrestrial photogrammetry was used to reconstruct its architectural features, and the digital imaging tool DStretch® to recover its murals. The resulting 3D model was then inserted into an immersive and interactive VR environment created using the cross-platform game engine Unity. One of the greatest challenges of this project revolved around recovering the dilapidated and virtually nonexistent mural paintings using DStretch®. However, the final result is an immersive and interactive VR environment containing architectural and artistic information created within the video game engine Unity, which thereby allows the user to explore, observe and interact with a cultural heritage site in real time.
Keywords: virtual reality; cultural heritage; DStretch®; digital image analysis; RGB images; unity; virtual reconstruction; reintegration; mural paintings virtual reality; cultural heritage; DStretch®; digital image analysis; RGB images; unity; virtual reconstruction; reintegration; mural paintings
MDPI and ACS Style

Soto-Martin, O.; Fuentes-Porto, A.; Martin-Gutierrez, J. A Digital Reconstruction of a Historical Building and Virtual Reintegration of Mural Paintings to Create an Interactive and Immersive Experience in Virtual Reality. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 597.

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