3D reconstruction V. rounding the model up

Modelling techniques for more lid detailing

The overall shape of the coffin and lid is now done to the extend what can be achieved based on secondary sources of similar chronology and region.

Important: there are no fragments of the original case for this lid left, this is a full reconstruction based only on similar coffins.

The lid will now be edited to fit more to the existing fragment. We can see on the 3D scan at least three different boards forming the lid. The middle one could probably divide once more behind the left hand, but to me it seems like a natural breaking in comparison to the straight cut in front of the left hand. Most of the other presented coffin lids by Taylor 2009 have also three planks which are showing similar breaks.

  • Dividing the lid into more pieces by drawing a spline and cutting alongside it. NB: the form of the cuts is only to some degree certain directly towards the SfM-Model; downwards to the feet this comes from my interpretation based to some extend on the images provided by Taylor 2009 of other coffin lids.
  • Fitting the now three pieces to match the shapes to the ones of our lid (esp. the left one with the convex shape).

Modelling techniques for overall little detailing

This step is only based on my own interpretation and creativity to round the overall image a little bit up, mostly to break some of the hard edges and making the flat edges a little wobbly to give them a more natural feel like the lid above. The same with the frame-piece.

For the final renderings the 3D scan has to be prepared in this way that it does not stick out of the reconstruction model and no holes are visible. Therefore, I’m also deleting the two tenons cause they are not distinctive enough in the scan to get them integrated right while fitting the overall look. Closing the big hole on the back of the headpiece using one of the backup lids. For the frame, dragging the points of it to snuggle fit to the scanned frame and restoring some minor damages in the frame of the scan to guarantee its fit onto the case.


The coffin case will be made from plain wood, as previously stated following Taylor. On the lid we can still see the wooden structure of the planks but also that they are covered with a thin layer of somewhat creme-white/khaki coloured paint. The Texture will contain these two details, but I won’t use more (like damages or dowels) to obtain the contrast between reconstruction and scan. The textures will be using PBR-materials (physical based rendering) made with Adobe Substance Painter 2019.3.3.

Since we don’t have further information about the used wood for the coffin lid, I’ll be using wood with long, even and fine grain as seen on the uncovered parts. These properties are described by Cooney 2015, 274 for cedar, but this has to be analysed by a dendrologist further to give a definitive statement.

  1. Creating and editing the UV-coordinated texture maps in Cinema 4D for telling the application where to put a 2D-image on the 3D-object-surface.
  2. Exporting and loading the case and lid into Substance Painter.
  3. Using the Wood Walnut material because it has a fine and even base structure; further fitting and editing of this material for our needs.
  4. Editing colour to fit to the wood colour from our scanned lid (reference points to extract the colour values are behind the right hand and on the frame – Substance Painter allows to use its colour selection tool outside of the Substance Painter window which makes this part quite easy).
  5. Export all maps in separate files to use them as textures in Cinema 4D (e.g. base colour map for the colour and flat details, normal map for the depth information: here the wood grain).
  6. Adding another layer on top of the wood material to simulate a thin layer of paint for the lid. The Artificial Leather material gives a nice some kind of rough structure as starting point. Important: the wood grain has to be visible though the ‘paint’ layer later on; achieved by using lower opacity and the wood grain normal map.
  7. Export as a second texture-set.
  8. Creating of two materials (case_wood and lid_wood_paint) and giving them the exported maps to the right channels.
  9. Editing the colour till satisfied.


To include all features of a coffin from this period, I’ve also added an inscription to the lid. It was taken from an image used by Taylor, 2009, 404, tab. III of a coffin lid from this region and period (Lahun). This serves only as a visual placeholder/clue but this inscription includes all of the main characteristics written on these coffins: recumbent jackal, dark color, framed and somehow untidy carried out.

Most of the inscriptions of coffins from this period and region started with the opening phrase ḥtp dì nsw (an offering which the king gives) followed by the name of a deity; in this example Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. This is here also followed by the epithet ḥḳꜣ ꜥnḫw (ruler of the living) of Osiris. See also Taylor 2009, 391f. and Bussmann 2017, 10ff. I would particularly like to thank my special friend Julia for helping with the hieroglyps.

The inscription was taken from its background via Adobe Photoshop CC 2020 and converted to a vector image in Adobe Illustrator CC 2020 to scale it up without quality losses to nearly 4k. After this, I created an alpha and texture image (as raster image, because Substance Painter only accept these) and painted the inscription as a pattern onto the above created texture in Substance Painter.


R. Bussmann (2017), Complete Middle Egyptian. A New Method for Understanding Hieroglyphs (London).

K. M. Cooney (2015), Coffins, Cartonnage, and Sarcophagi, in: M. K. Hartwig (ed.), A Comapnion o Ancient Egyptian Art (Chichester), 269–292.

J.H. Taylor (2009), Coffins as evidence for a ‘north-south divide’ in the 22nd-25th dynasties, in: G.P.F. Broekman/R.J. Demarée/O.E. Kaper (edd.), The Libyan Period in Egypt. Historical and cultural studies into the 21st-24th dynasties: Proceedings of a conference at Leiden University, 25-27 October 2007 (Leiden), 375–415.

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