The Making of a QuickTime walk through Artist's drawings, 1650-1800

Four steps in constructing a walk in 3D through historical Delft's cultural heritage

Kees Kaldenbach



NEW A QuickTime walk through drawings of the south gates of Delft - the very gates Vermeer depicts in his View of Delft.

A number of new QuickTime movies now show Vermeer's View of Delft area in 3D. They are online at the site of the Department of Industrial Design, Delft:

Making of:


From this site you may view any movie of your choice. The downloading is free - all material is copyrighted. This project has been graciously conceived, supported and created by the Department of Industrial Design of the faculty OCP (Design Engineering and Production) of the Delft University in close collaboration with the project developer, art historian Drs Kees Kaldenbach.


Step 1) Defining our mission.

The story began when Kaldenbach walked into Kees Jorens' office at the Delft Industrial Design building in 1998 and showed him the exciting project Flight over Delft which just had been accomplished at the Faculty of Geodesy. Kaldenbach proposed to build on that strength and to start a collaboration in the worlds of Art History and 3D technology.

Because of Jorens' immediate enthusiasm, a series of Departmental meetings began.We started off with the idea of creating a moving image of the View of Delft, complete with rippling water, moving ships, barking dogs, flying birds and moving clouds. This initial concept - which would require major morphing and wireframe building was slowly transformed into another level of conceptual thinking. Based upon my portfolio of reproductions of drawings and prints by various artists - who all show their views of this area around 1650-1830 - it was decided to adhere closely to the original artwork and morph these into several 3D environments.

Thus this ground breaking project was brought forward during the years 1998-2001. Time and again Associate Professors Pieter Jan Stappers and Kees Overbeeke agreed to meet in order to discuss the future of the project. Both enthusiastically contributed their design vision and technological background.

2) Scanning the necessary images.

Hands-on work for this project has actually started in May 2000 by scanning the necessary images in the Delft Archives who gave full cooperation. Onno van Nierop assisted in making the electronic scans from the original works of art in the Municipal Archives.These high resolution images were fed into a computer.

3) Hands-on process.

A student-assistant - Petrik de Heus - was found willing to do the time consuming 3D work in the software package Canoma. Canoma is a software package which - with some authoring effort - creates 3D geometry from photographs. The application was developed by MetaCreations and has since been bought by Adobe who will integrate Canoma's technology in future products. For more information about Canoma, see Canoma is a fitting tool as it is able to change viewpoint within a given image, covering the surface of the shifted and altered areas with a copy of the original surface pattern and colour.

Thus De Heus' work resulted in a number of short Canoma movies. Some of these are a complete movie in themselves and pretty basic, starting off with the original image, moving the imaginary camera lens forward, traveling past near by objects which seem to be shaped 3D but are actually just paper thin props. The whole effort resulted in a remarkably spatial walk into a virtual world of cultural heritage.

One of the final movies however, the 'Rotterdam Movie' has been dubbed our Objet de Resistance. This movie is quite unique as it combines images from an imaginary travelling camera lens through a number of consecutive drawings and prints. The camera starts far away at the east side of the Rotterdam Gate, moves closer, shows the entire gate (see the four still images to the left), moves through the gate, turns right, makes a pan movement across the buildings opposite, makes another full turn and finally moves towards the Schiedam gate which is the one in the center of Vermeer's View of Delft. Aldo Hoeben generated this Object de Resistance by tansfering the geometry-output from Canoma into a conventional 3D animation package. After fixing problems of scale and some inconsistencies in geometery between the scenes, a walk-through was animated and combined with timed fades of all the objects from one scene to the next. The philosopy for all of the movies has not been to create a photo realistic experience. The beauty of the original drawings and prints, combined with the magical effect of walking into these old representations of Delft, made us decide to leave the 'rough edges' which show results of the technical process of creation in its own sphere of technological aesthetics. One such 'rough edge' is noticeable as a slanted black line at the lower left hand bottom view of the four consecutive still views above.

Finally Aldo Hoeben created a browser interface, which allows the present-day Internet viewer to choose each of the available QuickTime movies.

4) Future projects

These set of QuickTime movies show a new, enticing and exciting pathway in presenting the best of our cultural heritage to a wide audience. This happy marriage of art history and digital technology may be an inspiration to museums, institutions and firms. One may now enjoy all of the present QuickTime movies on Internet. As downloading takes a certain amount of time three levels of QuickTime movies are offered - small, medium and large, resulting in increasing measurements on screen.

In future, Deo Volente, I may develop a CD rom which combines many aspects of the history of Delft. It would present Delft from its economical foundation - Delft as an market center within the agricultural Delfland area. Delft became prosperous because of beer breweries and later on because of Delft Blue workshops. This chapter would also highlight the role of the local Chamber of the East India Company and West India Company.

One could also follow a different inquiry into Delft - that of its political history, realizing how this strategically located town became the seat of the Prince of Orange for a while - influcending defence architecture. Finally one could focus on the rich cultural life, leading to the blossoming of the arts of painting, music and printing. In this respect the recently published detailed Map of Delft "Johannes Vermeer & the DELFT school" would form a wonderful interface. On this future CD-rom it would even be conceivable to enter scholarly work like that of emeritus professor John Michael Montias.




I am indebted to the Department of Industrial Design of the faculty OCP (Design Engineering and Production) of the Delft University of Technology for conceiving and supporting this project - and for hosting the QuickTime movies. Thanks to student-assistant Petrik de Heus who diligently worked with Canoma. Major thanks to assistant professor Aldo Hoeben supervising the execution of the project, for editing the animations and producing the internet-interface. He also put in many hours at his own design agency, studioPKO.

The team of Industrial Design people which brought this ground breaking project slowly to fruition and into production phase during the years 1998-2001 consisted of Kees Jorens, Kees Overbeeke and Pieter-Jan Stappers. Thanks to Onno van Nierop for making the electronic scans from the original art works at the Municipal Archive who gave their full cooperation. The resulting QuickTime movies - some of which which still need touching up here and there - are available online at copyright 2001. Please contact Kees Kaldenbach before you copy , store or print any of these images. Questions about this project?


This page was launched 27 June 2001. This page was updated May 17, 2005.