Beyond Hollywood movies and video games, three-dimensional visualization and animation play a fundamental role in the academic community. Adding a visual component to any research project often provokes novel and interesting questions that might not have been previously regarded. For example, the visual reconstruction of a Native American house or a Roman insula leads to questions about structural elements, interior design, furnishing and decoration. In a modern setting, visualization of a series of different proposed buildings can provide city planners and the public with important information on whether to approve or deny permits and/or information useful to assess the outcome of alternative planning scenarios. Visualization of multiple data sets from a range of instruments such as aerial cameras, laser scanners and geophysical devices can lead to new insights that each alone could not provide. The use of the latest visualization technology bridges both research and public interpretation and information. Complex processes and alternative outcomes can be visualized and understood by a wider audience
The field of scientific visualization is large and work at CAST generally focuses on visualization of moderate scale data and particularly on representations of buildings, objects and environmental settings of modest (e.g. city or county) scale. A key research and application direction is the integration of advanced mensuration techniques (e.g. photogrammetry and laser scanning) with visualization.
The Center has extensive software and hardware capabilities for visualization and animation purposes with products such as SoftImage XSI and Studio 3DS Max and two examples. Details are provided in the resources section of the web site
CAST has been involved in numerous 3D analysis projects during the past few years. More information on these projects is provided at the links to the left.
Many high school students participating in the the EAST Initiative are learning animation skills supported in part by the Center. CAST also has a number of animation initiatives at the UA and is working with other programs across the UA campus (drama, art, computer science/computer engineering) and others to grow the educational opportunities in this expanding area.
An example of one of the educational initiatives is the UA Honors College course " Visualizing the Roman City" which brings together faculty and students from Classics, Architecture, Geosciences and Anthropology to investigate the nature of the Roman City merging insights from classical literature, architectural theory and visualization techniques.