Capturing reality: Capture Craft and Microsol Resources fabricate a scale replica of Philadelphia landmark.

By Roger Liucci | 3D Printing


“Reality capture” is a term that is gaining a foothold in many more industries these days. The applications of creating a high definition 3D mesh of a real world element are expanding significantly. The Smithsonian recently showcased its work in digitizing parts of their collection on and wowed the industry with examples geared towards research, analysis, and preservation. Optimized for the Web, mobile or 3D printing / fabbing, reality capture is an impressive new tool making art, artifacts, and architecture more accessible.


As a case study and proof of concept for a confidential museum client the Philadelphia start-up named Capture Craft created a high resolution 3D capture of part of the Swan memorial fountain at Logan Square in Philadelphia. The museum is interested in expanding their reach to the public around the world and with the talents of the Capture Craft Company they will be able to do that. By digitally capturing high resolution 3D models of their collections that are on display and also in storage, the museum will be able to peak the curiosity of potential visitors, impress their members and provide access to an expansive virtual collection to researchers around the world.


The turtle at the Swan Memorial Fountain was good example of Capture Craft’s capabilities. Situated at the center of Logan Circle on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia, the fountain by Alexander Stirling Calder and designed with architect Wilson Eyre, memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society.


02-Turtle photo


Capture Craft’s founder, Craig Barbieri has been working with software maker Autodesk on the software tools and methods to create high definition 3D mesh models. Beginning with high resolution cameras, lenses, and special lighting requirements, the Capture Craft team captured images at multiple elevations, 360° around the sculpted turtle that spouts water toward the 25-50-foot geyser at the fountain’s center. About 100 high resolution photographs are then processed and fed into specialized servers which use Autodesk’s algorithms to reconstruct the sculpture in 3 dimensions, with an accuracy rivaling other known methods. Once the initial 3d model is created, its coordinates are then set to real-world scale and cleaned of any outlying geometry. The result is a 3D mesh model on which you can see an amazing level of 3D detail, including the sculptor’s tool marks.



Note the sculptor’s tool marks in the center of this image.



 Appearing left to right, Photo, Surface model, Mesh model, Textured mesh model


Once complete, Capture Craft reached out to Roger Liucci of Microsol Resources, the preeminent New York 3D-printing Master, to have the model of the turtle 3D printed on their latest machine. Microsol Resources has been in the 3D printing business for almost 10 years, and has a number of different 3D print technologies in their New York office. Working with clients such as Cesar Pelli (NY, CT), Morphosis (NY), SHoP Architects (NY). Microsol Resources was excited to print this high-resolution model in color on their new 3D Systems ProJet 660 3D Printer. Once a size was chosen the machine went to work and the results were fantastic! When not on display to potential new clients the replicated turtle sculpture is showcased in the Capture Craft office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



1/12th scale 3D Print of the Swann Memorial Fountain Turtle sculpture


For more information about the Capture Craft Company, contact Craig Barbieri at


For more information about 3D printing contact Roger Liucci at Microsol Resources (888) 768-7568


Published on June 1, 2015 in 3D Printing.

About the Author

Roger, our senior BIM specialist, specializes in all things architecture & construction and has been with Microsol Resources since 2001. He provides technical support for our architectural, interiors, construction and engineering clients.