Nittany Lion Shrine: Ready for Its Closeup
So of course I made it a point to stop by this week as the shrine underwent digital 3D scanning, which will enable it to be rebuilt or repaired in the event of severe damage.
It turns out that the guys doing the scan, Greg Robinson and Kyle Herr of Survice Metrology, were just as excited. “We don’t usually get to be outside like this,” Robinson said. It turns out that while the stuff on Survice’s website highlights the really cool stuff, such as scanning a priceless Sphinx at the Metropolitan Museum of Art so that it’s preserved for posterity, a lot of the job is pretty routine. Satellite dishes. Hydroelectric plants.
And they weren’t inflexible on the “off-limits” thing, either. When a group that had come all the way from Atlanta appeared, they moved the equipment out of the way so the travelers could get the photo they came for.
The process itself, honestly, wasn’t all that compelling to watch. Robinson and Herr marked the statue with some reference points that looked as if they were pounded into the limestone, but turned out to be simply attached with blue painters’ tape. That’s a trick they picked up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“They tested the tape, and they let us use it on the 4,500-year old Sphinx,” Robinson said, smiling. “So if it’s safe for that, it’s safe for this Nittany Lion.”
They had brought an automatic scanner, but that wasn’t working. So Herr (right) worked over the statue by hand, and as he did so, you could watch the Nittany Lion appear on a computer monitor. Late Tuesday afternoon, only the paws were visible. (You can see for yourself in the photo below. All of these shots, by the way, were taken by our editor, Tina Hay ’83.) By Wednesday morning, however, it was possible to see almost the whole lion, minus a few holes.
Later Wednesday, to supplement the scanning, the guys bathed the shrine in white light, which gives them additional data for the scan. You can get a sense of what that looks like with Tina’s picture above, which shows the stripes.
It’s nice to know that in case of emergency, the Nittany Lion Shrine could be rebuilt. But there are other long-term plans, too–including possibly animating the shrine and making it move. WPSU producer Kristian Berg, who was onsite with a camera crew, is hoping to find a way to make that happen.
I’m rooting for that, too.
Lori Shontz, senior editor