Archive by Author

Notley Young’s Mansion…and Chapel?

12 Mar

We’ve been working on modeling Notley Young’s Mansion.  There is very little information other than the footprint that appears on the 1794 King Plat (above), and a very small hand drawn image of the house on the John Frederick Augustus Priggs’ 1790 map (below). But neither of these images match the written descriptions of the […]

What L’Enfant Saw

25 Feb

UMBC’s Imaging Research Center (IRC) is working to re-create Washington DC in its early years 1790-1820.  Remarkably little visual information remains from this time period.  What began as a simple effort to use 3D digital re-creation and display techniques has become full-scale research to uncover the original landscape.  In 1791, Pierre-Charles L’Enfant arrived in Georgetown […]

Hammering on Young’s Plantation

19 Dec

After working on the 1790 terrain, IRC 3D Animator Phillip Thomas is finally getting to do what he does best: modeling. He is slowly hammering his way through the more than twenty buildings that make up Notley Young’s 1790 Plantation. The images here represent only the building’s geometry. The textures that will be applied later to all the surfaces will make them look like weathered or new wood, shingles, bricks, stone, etc.

Laying Out Notley Young’s Plantation

26 Sep

In the mid 1790s, after the new city had been surveyed and streets marked, the dwellings of all the original land owners were surveyed and located on the “King Plats.”  These early maps now provide the best information as to where buildings were located, but, unfortunately, the maps only give the barest of details for […]

Start Date 1790. Make It So.

21 Aug

We’ve selected to re-create Notley Young’s Plantation circa 1790 as a pilot. Above are the more than twenty buildings (in blue) that make up its estate overlaid on top of a contemporary Google street map of SW Washington. The fact that the many of buildings’ positions currently lie in an open space (Benjamin Banneker Park) […]

Geometry and The Perfect Quad

5 Jul

The last three months saw one of those painful and critical steps that few speak or care about: converting the elevation data to a 3D polygonal mesh that can be used in animations and real-time simulations.  We wanted to do it once and right, and assure that the final mesh could be easily used in […]

Polished 1790 carat Diamond

2 May

Virginia is attached!  Need we say more?  We’d like to think that this is the most accurate and complete topographical map of the District of Columbia in 1790 that exists. It’s interesting to note that this map represents decades of work by the historical cartographer Donald Hawkins, years of work by Peter Chirico’s USGS group, […]

“Then and Now” Techniques, Part II

28 Mar

In 1813, the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe did a quick sketch of the US Capitol being built. We used this sketch as a test to see how non-photorealistic rendering styles (a technical term meaning painterly or illustrative) could work to visualize the early city of Washington DC.  The first impulse for doing re-creations is to make them […]

Diamond In the Rough

15 Jan

After months of working, Lindsay Schroader has completed a 1790 version of the District of Columbia, but it doesn’t include the section of Virginia that originally was included in the District. It’s a diamond in the rough with a chunk out of the lower left.

“Then and Now” Techniques, Part I

14 Nov

A major challenge to any historical re-creation is the “So what?” or “Why should I care?” test. Part of the success of this effort to re-create early Washington will rely on how to make historical findings compelling and interesting to the public.  In a conversation with Scott Berg, author of a book on Pierre L’Enfant, […]