Martinez, K., Cupitt, J., Saunders, D. and Pillay, R.
Ten Years of Art Imaging Research
Proceedings of the IEEE, 90, (1), .
This paper describes a decade of work on digital imaging for museums. In 1989-92, the EU-funded VASARI project produced a digital imaging system that made colour-calibrated images of up to 20k x 20k pels directly from paintings. It used seven colour-separation bands in the visible region, resulting in an average colour error of around 1 deltaELab unit. These images have since been used to monitor the condition of paintings, to document paintings during conservation treatment, including predicting appearance after cleaning, to reconstruct the original appearance of paintings in which pigments have faded, to assess whether paintings have been damaged during transportation, in estimations of the surface reflectance spectra, and in the printing of high-quality reproductions. We have applied similar techniques to museum infrared and X-ray imaging. To manage the images produced by the VASARI system, an image-processing package has been developed that is tailored for very large colorimetric images. This package has since been used in several other projects, including a remote image viewer designed to provide internet access to high-resolution images. The paper explores these developments, and gives details of the current generation of VASARI-derived systems, set in the context of the state-of-the-art for museum imaging.
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