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3DVisA Index of 3D Projects: Museum Applications

Interactive 3D Exhibits at the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production, Lesbos, Greece

In September 2006, the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production opened on the Greek island of Lesbos (Gr. Lesvos). The museum is housed in a traditional olive oil production plant. The display of historic industrial objects is complemented with 3D digital reconstructions and interactive exhibits. The reconstructions include models and animations of machinery and production lines. Most notably, the film From Water to Water shows a steam engine, with animation that illustrates the process of energy generation; the film From Olives to Olive Oil includes accurate 3D reconstructions of the olive presses and pumps, with animation illustrating the pressing of olives and separation of oil. The visualisations are projected on multiple screens alongside the exhibits and on information panels throughout the exhibition. Interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages are also installed in the Museum's educational rooms. The educational game concerned with the local industrial plant, called Oil the Wheels of a Communal Engine allows young visitors to learn about the construction of the machines displayed in the museum in an interactive way.

Fig. 1. Virtual models of machines. makebelieve and the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production, Lesbos. Reproduced with kind permission.

The highly accurate digital models and animations were designed with the help of the team of mechanical engineers responsible for the restoration of the actual industrial-era machinery that is on display in the museum. The 3D reconstructions were first built in AutoCAD and Unigraph, in multiple separate parts. Each part was then imported into Autodesk 3ds Max, where material mapping was applied, and connected. The models were also mapped topographically.

For the pre-rendered animations, the team of engineers and modellers/animators worked together to reconstruct the models digitally in the modelling program and animate the separate parts, applying the relevant mathematical functions and forces. Each piece of machinery was rendered into a separate animation for a display on a screen next to that machine. The two larger animations, From Water to Water and From Olives to Olive Oil showcase both the machinery and the entire production process of which they form part.

For the interactive game, simplified lower-polygon versions of the models were used. These were divided into smaller parts that are used in the two parts of the game; the player must connect the parts in order to assemble the machines and start production.

Fig. 1. Screen shots of the interacive educational game. makebelieve and the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production, Lesbos. Reproduced with kind permission.

Project dates: 2006

Resource status:

3D exhibits are available at the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production, Lesbos, Greece.


Virtual exhibits were designed and developed by makebelieve, a media company and consultancy founded by Maria Roussou and Dimitris Nastos, and based in Greece and the UK. 2D and 3D graphics and animation by Antonis Makrigiannis; full credits.

Sources and further details:

Lesbos project on the makebelieve website.

Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production, Lesbos website.

Record compiled by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel and Maria Roussou, 11 December 2006. Last updated: 9 May 2007.

3DVisA gratefully acknowledges the help of Maria Roussou with preparation of this record.

makebelieve and 3DVisA, 2006.

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