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Direct Digitasation of Decorated Architechtural Surfaces

TitleDirect Digitasation of Decorated Architechtural Surfaces
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsFindlater, K., MacDonald L., Giani A., Schick B., & Beckeett N.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting: Proceedings from ichim03
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedÉcole du Louvre, Paris, France
EditorPerrot,(d. 2007), X.
Keywordsichim, ichim03

The European project IST-2000-28008 ‘Veridical Imaging of Transmissive and Reflective Artefacts’ (VITRA) commenced in March 2002. It aims to facilitate the capture of high-resolution digital images of decorated surfaces in historical buildings. The principal objective is to design and develop a robotic carrier for a digital camera for remote acquisition of colorimetric images. Image processing algorithms are being developed for registration and correction of multiple adjacent images, channelling the stitched results to an image database for storage/retrieval adapted to the needs of users. Techniques will be explored for the interactive three-dimensional visualisation of the decorative images in augmented-reality settings. The consortium includes two user organisations, English Heritage (UK) and the Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Germany), who are both extensively involved to establish imaging requirements for decorative surfaces in heritage building, and to demonstrate system operation at several sites of historical importance in the two countries. In the UK, St. Mary’s Church at Studley Royal, a Victorian church near Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been chosen for its wide variety of media (exquisite stained glass, wall paintings and encaustic tile pavement), while at Peterborough Cathedral the painted nave ceiling will be surveyed and recorded. In Bavaria, Walhalla (“home of the Gods”) has been chosen for conservation of its unique coffered metal ceiling, while Regensburg Cathedral has been selected for analysis of weathering damage to its exterior stonework and its famous stained glass windows. A key aspect of the project will be the development of a suitable robotic carrier to lift a digital camera (actually a digital back on a medium-format studio camera) with illumination to an operating height of up to 15 metres above floor level. This will replace conventional photographic platforms such as scaffolding and ‘cherry pickers’, and is very attractive for survey purposes because it will be transportable and operable by a two-man team, and quick to put up and take down. It will be possible to position the camera repeatedly to an accuracy of 1 mm, using laser positioning devices, with three degrees of freedom on top of the robotic mast, including 360° horizontal rotational movements for the capture of full panoramic images. The German partner Jenoptik is adapting a CCD array of size 4Kx4K pixels for use with Balcar flash illumination in a single-shot image capture mode, fixed to a new Rollei 6008AF auto-focus camera body with Schneider and Carl Zeiss lenses. This paper will describe the VITRA robot in production including the camera and lighting platform together with the proposed lighting geometries. It will also refer to the issues of planning on-site photography, positioning of camera and illumination relative to the surface, control of the robotic apparatus, use of calibration charts, processing and database storage of images, and evaluation of the results. The image acquisition software chain and image processing applications including stitching and mosaicing techniques will be described in relation to the image capture of decorated architectural surfaces including stained glass windows.