Texture Map Reconstruction
Where possible, the textures for the Herodian Temple Mount real-time model were taken from digital photographs of the site. These site images only required minimal 'doctoring' in Adobe Photoshop, a computer-painting program, before they were ready to be loaded into the model. For example, the image of the monumental Herodian block at the southwest corner of the platform only needed to be perspective-corrected, evaluated for potential repeating blemishes, and cropped before it could be used in the model. At the other extreme, the missing elements of the cornice fragment from the Royal Stoa had to be completely reconstructed.
In computer modeling, two-dimensional images applied to surface geometry to give form and detail to the objects are known as texture maps. The most data efficient approach for creating texture maps is to build a texture that can be repeated, or tiled, across a large surface. To make a repeating texture for the cornice, the first step was a line drawing of the fragment with the suggestion of a possible repeat for the running border. Once approved by Archaeologist Ronny Reich, a digital image of the fragment was optically corrected in Photoshop and the missing elements of the repeat were reconstructed with copies of the extant fragment.
Consideration was given to constructing the repeating texture in such a way as to distinguish the fragment from the projected reconstruction, but this idea was abandoned in favor of explaining the reconstruction process outside of the simulation experience. Similarly, consideration was given to 'cleaning up' the fragment to make it appear freshly carved. This idea was also abandoned after a rough version of the texture was loaded into the model and it became apparent that the patina of the stone added a much-desired degree of realism to the simulation.
The completed cornice texture is used throughout the Royal Stoa, on both the upper and lower entablatures, and at the western entryway. The texture is also used in the entablature of the smaller porticos that rim the platform.