At the Orpheum Theater in downtown Sioux Falls, there are four John Rogers plaster sculptures on display. I had always admired them and I recently received permission to photograph them to model. (A big "Thank you!" to the Orpheum Management).
John Rogers (1829–1904) was an American sculptor who produced very popular, relatively inexpensive figurines in the latter 19th century.
He became famous for his small genre sculptures, popularly termed "Rogers Groups", which were mass-produced in cast plaster. A total of 80,000 copies of almost 80 Rogers Groups were sold across the United States and abroad.
At the height of their popularity, Rogers' figurines graced the parlors of homes in the United States and were found as far away as Chile and Australia. The English novelist Charles Reade furnished his home with all the Rogers figurines available to him, and in the Dakota Territory, Lt. Col. George Custer and his wife had one. Often selling for $15 apiece, the figurines were affordable to the middle class.
Instead of working in bronze and marble, he sculpted in more affordable plaster, painted the color of putty to hide dust. Rogers was inspired by popular novels, poems and prints as well as the scenes he saw around him.
Please see the following links for more information about John Rogers and this delightful sculpture based on "Romeo and Juliet:"
I used my Sony Alpha 5100 in RAW mode, set to ISO 100, f8 and mounted on a tripod to get the sharpest photos possible. I took 408 photos from every possible angle. I had a difficult time with some of the shots as this delightful sculpture has many deep recesses in the folds of the clothing, coupled with dust and cracks and harsh bright light washing over it. I ended up rotating the (very, very heavy pedestal) so I could cut down the blown out highlights and see more of the details that are hidden in the shadows. I didn't dare touch the sculpture since it is painted and there are visible chips and cracks in the paint, plus evidence of more chips laying on the base that have flaked away.
After I imported the photos, I converted the RAW images into DNGs, double-checked the photos for sharpness and exported them as DNGs into a folder. I then imported the folder into Photoscan and used the 'Medium' setting at all stages of the modeling.
I am thrilled to note that despite the photos having shadows falling in different directions due to me needing to turn the group to get different angles, Photoscan did a remarkably good job of coping and recreated the group with minor artifacts that were easy to clean up. Even better, Photoscan was able to use all 408 photos!
My next step was to run the model through the quality checker in Meshmixer to make sure it was printable. There were a fair number of minor issues but they were fixed. I finally had to do some extensive smoothing where some parts of the model were "noisy."
I then opened the model in Meshlab and carefully decimated the model down from over 12,000,000 faces down to just over 400,000 so it would be small enough to be shareable. Unfortunately, the decimation greatly diminished the smallest details but it still preserved the overall sculpture. I scaled the model to 30cm as a final step.