About The Met/ Conservation and Scientific Research/ Conservation and Scientific Research Projects/ Illumination of Material Culture: A Symposium on Computational Photography and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI)/ Day 2: Morning Session

Day 2: Morning Session

Welcoming Remarks

[Video: 00:00:10]

Keynote Lecture

[Video: 8:10]

Digital technologies are now mature for producing high-quality digital replicas of Cultural Heritage (CH) assets, using different media such as RTI, panoramic images, 3D models, and videos. An open issue is how to deliver widely both those data and the related knowledge to our community. The web is nowadays a key channel for the dissemination of knowledge and for the interaction between people. The talk reviews and discusses the emerging solutions for web-publishing, visualization, and analysis of visual media content, focusing also on the flexibility required to fulfill the specific needs of CH applications. Some of these related constraints and requirements are:

  • Need for simple-to-use solutions, possibly not requiring users to set up an infrastructure (c) and supporting users with scarce expertise with ICT- or web-related topics;
  • Need for flexible solutions, since we may have different users (scholars, restorers, students, amateurs, and tourists) and multiple domains of application for CH digital assets (b);
  • Data should be available and presented at full resolution even in a web-based interactive context (a);
  • Users should be able to integrate different media and content while building complex interactive multimedia installations/applications (f)(g);
  • Enabling technologies should be able to support communication actions oriented to the public, and also actions directed to the experts in more structured application domains, such as CH restoration (l);
  • Content produced should be available both on museum kiosks/installations and as web resources, to reduce costs and maximize impact (f)(h)(m).

Enabling technologies and platforms exist, both on the market (d) and as academic open source solutions (b). The talk presents the technologies recently developed by ISTI-CNR to support the web presentation of RTI data (e)(f); 3D models, by means of the flexible 3DHOP platform (b); and panoramic images (h). We are now at the beginning of a new era: excellent digital visual media can be easily produced with cutting-edge digitization technologies; we have now also the missing ring of the chain, the technology allowing us to fully employ those data to produce astonishing interactive and visual content and to deploy it to anyone in the world.


(a) Ponchio, F. and M. Dellepiane, "Multiresolution and Fast Decompression for Optimal Web-Based Rendering," Graphical Models, vol. 88 (2016) 1–11.
(b) 3D Hop; Potenziani, M., M. Callieri, M. Dellepiane, M. Corsini, F. Ponchio, and R. Scopigno, "3DHOP: 3D Heritage Online Presenter," Computer & Graphics, vol. 52 (2015) 129–41.
(c) ARIADNE's Visual Media Service: Automatic publication and visualization on visual media on the web.
(d) Sketchfab
(e) RTI web visualization with "Web RTI Viewer," ISTI-CNR
(f) Visualizing a coin collection at Palazzo Blu Museum, ISTI-CNR
(g) Leoni, C., M. Callieri, M. Dellepiane, D. O'Donnell, R. Rosselli Del Turco, and R. Scopigno. "The Dream and the Cross: A 3D-Scanning Project to Bring 3D Content in a Digital Edition." ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), vol. 8 (5), article n. 5. ACM, 2015.
(h) Interactive navigation over the frescoes at Loggia Farnesina, Rome
(l) The restoration of the Neptune Fountain and its documentation system, Bologna, Italy, 2017
(m) Pollock's Alchemy in 3D, ISTI-CNR and Guggenheim

Panel: RTI—Beyond Relighting

[Video: 45:40]

[Video: 59:25]

The Brooklyn Museum has recently begun using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) and multiband imaging (MBI) to better understand techniques and material use on collections objects. Several expansive research projects have allowed for the collection of a large amount of analytical and imaging data in a relatively short period of time, including a Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant-funded technical study of Stuart Davis's Mellow Pad, a large scale treatment of Della Robbia's Resurrection of Christ, and analysis of ancient Egyptian funerary portraits for the APPEAR (Ancient Panel Paintings: Examination, Analysis and Research Database) project. In addition to sharing this information in a traditional conference setting, conservators at the Brooklyn Museum have begun considering how to present RTI and MBI in a way that engages with the maximum number of the Museum's public audience. Social media platforms have been particularly effective. Looking at analytic data that tracks viewership and interactions on the BKM's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram feeds has provided some insight into what types of sharing work with more or less success. Sharing RTI video screenshots and GIFs of our MBI image has proven especially effective at engaging with social media audiences to share ongoing and recent projects. This informs future plans for further sharing information with our online audiences and museum visitors.


BKM Conservation Tumblr posts
RTI and the APPEAR project
MBI for the APPEAR project
MBI of Della Robbia's Resurrection of Christ
RTI of Della Robbia's Resurrection of Christ
MBI of Stuart Davis's Mellow Pad
APPEAR Project description

[Video: 1:10:25]

This talk presents the challenges encountered in the design and execution of a major research project which relies predominantly on the acquisition, interpretation, and sharing of data acquired by Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). The project explores unanswered questions about ancient stone carving practice through a systematic recording of tool marks on ancient stone sculpture using Highlight-based RTI and its overarching goals include: documenting tool marks using a standardized methodology and ​creating a data set that can be analyzed by the scholarly community. Workflow evolution, equipment and capture methodology trade-offs, interpretation, evaluation, and archiving challenges are discussed.

[Video: 1:21:30]

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is a single-artist focused cluster of heritage and art resources, including the artist's two adobe homes and studios at Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu; her furnishings, wardrobe, archives, studio materials, and source materials; and, of course, our 1210 works of art by O'Keeffe, which span her 60-year professional career. In a very concrete sense, moving the collection undamaged into the future is really fundamental to the future of the museum itself. Since 2005, the conservation program has been singularly focused on data-driven preservation—measuring and evaluating whether our conservation treatments and preventive methods actually slow the rate of deterioration of our collections, as well as determining the relative impacts of energy inputs (thermal, mechanical, photolytic, hygrometric, and chemical) upon the rates of deterioration—and managing our conservation resources accordingly. Acquiring scientifically valid, comparative damage and deterioration data is largely image-based for all the collection areas, including fine art and historic structures. This requires us to be attentive to the accuracy and validity/repeatability of our capture and processing workflows and metadata. In his presentation, Dale Kronkright describes the roles that RTI, photogrammetry, UV induced auto-fluorescence, and now photometric stereo are playing in our comparative preservation data acquisition.