Touring the World, Virtually


View of the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey from the vantage of the minaret, a piece of a spherical panorama. Photo © Gross Brothers Media LLC

As part of TechLab at #wma09, the Gross brothers of Gross Brothers Media presented on their amazing virtual recreations of real-world spaces, places, objects and paintings.

Here's what they have to say:

We are very excited to be here in San Diego with the Western Museum Association.  For the past few years we have been shifting our focus a bit from historic architecture to museum and gallery spaces.

We are participating in a very exciting project with the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to digitally bring the Kress Collection - about 3000 works distributed among almost 100 museums across the United States - together on the Kress website.  Visitors can view the Collection by repository or artist, and in a dozen museums that hold the largest sets of the Collection, visitors can view high-resolution spherical (360x180) panoramas with "hot-spots" that link to zoomable high-resolution scans of the artwork.  Sculpture is also viewable as "object files" that allow the viewer to rotate the pieces around as if they were on a virtual lazy susan.

One of the most intriguing features of the panoramic presentation is that it preserves the intent and logical sequence of the exhibition, and allows side-by-side comparisons.  The intellectual and aesthetic intent of the curator is preserved, which is especially useful for scholars and students.

Please visit our website for links to some of our latest projects, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or if you are interested in creating a virtual museum of your own.  Also, we wanted to thank our colleague Forrest Wittenmeier at Sweet and Baker Insurance Brokers in San Francisco for introducing us to the WMA community.

To view the Gross Brothers walking tour of Al-Haram Al-Sharif click here.  The Gross Brothers also worked on a Best Practices Guide to Digital Panoramic Photography -- [pdf] for the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Arts and Humanities (IATH), University of Virginia, Charlottesville Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)

The Gross brothers have served as Co-Directors of the Williams College Virtual Architecture Project since its inception in 2002, under the direction of Professor Eugene J. Johnson, Amos Lawrence Professor of Art. The result of this project is a unique collection of over 1400 high-resolution spherical panoramas that represent many of the greatest monuments of Western and Islamic architecture.

Michael and Barry have been working with digital panoramic photography since the 1990’s. Their photography of art and architecture has been published or displayed at Williams College, Williams College Museum of Art, University of Virginia, University of California, Los Angeles, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, University of South Africa Johannesburg, University of Vienna, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Princeton School of Architecture, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, ARTstor, and others. They have presented their work at Texas A&M University (Fall 2005) and Williams College (Summer 2007).

In 2006, both Michael and Barry were Visiting Fellows at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia under the direction of Professor Bernard Frischer, where they served as project coordinators and editors of the IATH Best Practices Guide to Spherical Panorama Photography – a guide to the creation of photographic virtual reality documentation of World Cultural Heritage Sites, commissioned by ARTstor and the Society of Architectural Historians. Gross Brothers Media LLC was founded by Michael and Barry Gross in July, 2006.



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Just want to see if you are a robot.