Comparing Data Modelling Techniques

In the age of ‘Big Data’, one where we are drowning in information from corporations, media, the world wide web etc… there has to be a way to structure this data in the information age. Companies are beginning to recognize that semantics is very important for the systems to communicate with each other and also with people who run them. A data model is then a drawing which represents data or things and the relationships between them.

Relational databases:

A database is a collection of knowledge, which has been organised in some way so that it can be easily managed, accessed updated queried, retrieved etc…  A relational database then is an organised structure of data which is used to leverage relationships and connections between objects. When modelling this form of databases one tends to use a relational schema, and the query this using SQL. For example the figure below shows an example of this database

This technique of modelling data is favorable when a user wants to specify data and certain queries, a user can input exactly what they want and leave it up to the software to bring back results which describe the data and the relationships between them.

Example of an relational database model:


The RDF or the Resource Description:

The RDF or the Resource Description Framework on the other hand is another type of data model. This RDF model is used as a method for conceptual modelling of information that is implemented in web resources. This type of data model uses a vary of syntax notations and data serialization formats and is based upon the idea of making statements about resources in the form of subject-predicate-object expressions. By using this type of data model it opens up data on a global scale and essentially enables anybody to refer to anything. The difference between the RDF model and an object-orientated model would be its use of object, subject, predicate as opposed to an entity, attribute, value approach. This, though, enables software to more easily exchange information throughout the web which then in turn results in the user gathering and receiving data from these databases more easily with greater efficiency and certainty. This as mentioned can then be done on a global scale which opens up the possibility for more users to access this material.

Example of an RDF model

.RDF model


Miller, Eric.  Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax. Accessed May 2017 

Pinczel, Balazs, Nagy, David, Kiss, Attila. ‘The Pros and Cons of RDF Structure Indexes’ Annales Univ. Sci. Budapest  Vol 42. 2014. Pp 283-296

Schreibman Susan, Siemens Ray, Unsworth, John. A Companion to Digital Humanities Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

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The Upper Floor.

All along the modelling process I decided I was going to leave out the Upper Floor, until the final stages of the model, I felt that without the upper floor the model did not look right. Although it was debated whether or not an upper floor was built the arguments that prove there was one outweigh its nonexistence. Ultimately this decision would then lead to my downfall. When modelling the upper floor for the first time I extruded the polygons on the top of the walls of the ground floor and also beveled the pillars to make them look like buttresses to become the beginnings of a support for a roof.

Like so.

Pillar supports.

I then began creating the windows in the upper floors by using the boolean command to remove boxes I had created.

Like so

upper story

With these removed I was finally going to move onto adding the textures and materials to my structure. That’s when 3DS max decided to crash. Throughout the whole project I had never had any issues with the system crashing and thought at that point my experience with that was just far too good to be true. Unfortunately I had not got any of my work saved up to this point and it wasn’t salvageable.

So I began the process again, however this time I don’t know what I did when extruding the sides of the walls I somehow messed up the geometry and when it came to using the boolean command to subtract a box the walls it would only work for one side.  At this point I became frustrated and tried pretty much anything to remove some of the objects to create the windows on each side.  I began connecting edges together, removing the polygons etc…. nothing I did however seemed to work and I was gone past the point of no return.  For this reason the upper story only has one window and one slightly distorted wall where I was adjusting the edges to try and create another window. My biggest regret with the project was that I extended the walls instead of building another structure separately and so may not of had as many issues regarding the the geometry when trying to use modifiers or the boolean command.

As I had taken up so much time recreating this upper floor I lost time in trying to complete the materials of the structure. Only the arches over the doorways and the fountain truly have the proper materials I wanted.

It was a disappointing end for me personally to the project as I felt I had the potential to model so much more, the materials, a proper Upper Floor with windows, the capitals and the decorative stones. I have learned my lesson though, it is ultimately easier to build objects and join them together than what I started off doing by trying to model the objects I already had, this could be said for the arches I first started off with and the Upper Floor example from above. I also learned that just because for the first 95% of the project I had no issues with 3DS max it doesn’t mean that this can turn around and change drastically at the end. But most importantly I have learned to always always save your work and not give the software the opportunity to delete your hard work.

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The Fountain and the Tiles.

As there is no evidence of the original fountain left from the Lavabo, modelling the basins for the was somewhat based on fragments found from the site and other Cistercian abbeys that were formed in and around the time that Mellifont Abbey was built. From looking at Stalleys ‘Decorating the Lavabo: Late Romanesque Sculpture from Mellifont Abbey’ it is known that there would have been two basins at least forming the structure. I decided to use this basis and then look at the fountain from Santa Maria de Poblet, Cantalonian Cisterian Monastery Spain, which can be seen below.

fountain abbey

My final structure looked like this.


The bottom basin was just a cylinder shape, which I then extruded and beveled the top polygon to create the edges of the structure. I then created a small hemisphere and aligned it on top to sit in the middle of the cyliner for me to place another larger hemisphere on top to act as the second basin. With this shape I again converted to editable poly and used the bevel and extrude commands to model the edges. I then copied the previous smaller hemisphere and again aligned it to the centre of the larger hemisphere for the final “basin” to sit on top. From the fragments that were found at the site, the archaeologists interpretation was that there would have been 8 decorative stones where the lead pipes would have pushed the water out of. As mentioned in previous posts due to time constraints I decided to leave out decorative features on stones and capitals and instead focus on the actual structure itself. For this reason the the spouts at the top of the fountain are just represented here as eight stones, modeled together in an octagonal shape to keep in align with the structure itself.

The Tiles then where just a cylinder with 8 sides and a diameter of 25ft just like to Lavabo structure. I just used a bitmap image to import an image of the tiles on top of the geometry and then used tiling and bumps to create the tiling affect on the floor.


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The Ground Floor.

In the last post I talked about building one side of the octagonal structure. My next step then was to copy this, 7 times to complete the ground floor.  I used the dimensions of a floor plan to create a cylinder with 8 sides to align with the walls. However although they were all lined up, there was till “gaps” between the sides which needed to be filled in to complete the structure. I did this by using the splines to create small triangles, converting this to an editable poly, extruding the shape and then using the cap hole modifier to create a shape. Using boolean in the compound objects I used the union option to join this shapes with the wall sides, altogether creating the ground floor.

Like so.

fin arch

From here I created another spline for the wall edges, on the outside of the structure were on the Lavabo there would have been a slight pillar.

I next looked at the pillars or columns on the inside of the structure.

inner pillar

This part of geometry was quite simple to do as it involved creating a cylinder, converting it to an editable poly and applying the slice modifier to cut it in half. The by applying the cap hole modifier to the vertices I could then extrude and bevel the pillar to the way I wanted. In Lavabo structure the beveled part of the cylinder at the top of the pillar is actually a decorative capital, however I decided to leave these out, more for time constraints rather than for lack of ability.

Below is an example of the pillar joined with the wall using the boolean command.

arche and pillar

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