Bringing Lincoln to Life

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Projects -

Weeks after the film’s release, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian continues to be described as “ingenious” for bringing to life many famous art and sculpture pieces and animating ‘monumental’ figures in our nation’s capital. Direct Dimensions, Inc., a unique 3D digital imaging provider based just an hour’s drive from the Lincoln Memorial, supplied pieces of data and graphics necessary for President Lincoln’s foray into a Ben Stiller blockbuster – and into Hollywood.

In one of the movie’s most inventive scenes, the statue of Abe Lincoln seated within the Lincoln Memorial stands up and walks out of the Memorial and onto the National Mall. After being contacted by Rhythm and Hues Studios, the Direct Dimensions team re-purposed 3D scans of the Lincoln Memorial already stored in their files to provide this essential digital information to the Oscar Award-winning visual effects studio in the form of a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) model. Rhythm and Hues Studios then enhanced the digital information with animation for the Abe that is seen and voiced by Hank Azaria within the film.

Direct Dimensions President and Chief Engineer Michael Raphael said, “We’ve worked with sectors ranging from medical to military and practically all groups in the middle. Partnering with the Night at the Museum team to transport our scans to the silver screen was extraordinary. Helping to preserve U.S. historical artifacts is a large part of our business, so we were proud to contribute to a film dedicated to entertainingly educating on the subject matter.”

Direct Dimensions originally scanned the Lincoln Memorial at the request of the U. S. Government in 2001 – just after September 11th – to understand how significant cultural monuments could be reproduced, if necessary. Since then they have captured many other National Monuments including the Liberty Bell and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Reporter Ron Matz of WJZ 13 visited our facility to cover our work with the Lincoln Memorial and subsequent involvement with the film. We also had the opportunity to scan Mr. Matz and showcase our new 3D face and 3D body scanning technologies. It is an exciting time to be working in 3D technologies!

Additional Links

DDI's Kal's Virtual Obama and Clinton Project

DDI's Digital Presidential Busts Project

Night at the Museum Official Movie Site