This book is unique in the fields of documentation and conservation of cultural heritage assets, where there is a constant need to achieve higher quality of records and more powerful analytical tools for extracting information about the condition of artefacts. Digital photography and image processing provide these capabilities, and recent technological advances promise new levels of performance for the capture and understanding of colour images. This inter-disciplinary book focuses on imaging of decorated surfaces in historical buildings, and shows how user requirements can be met by application of powerful digital imaging techniques.
The primary motivation was the European research project VITRA ‘Veridical Imaging for Transmissive and Reflective Artefacts’. The project brought together partners exhibiting the state-of-the-art technology in digital photography, robotic engineering, image processing, databases and conservation. This unique collaboration produced information for ten chapters of this volume.
For conservation digital imaging can be used to survey the state of existing surfaces, to compare styles and details with other sites, to visualise the effects of proposed cleaning or reconstruction techniques, and to provide a record of appearances before and after restoration. Digital imaging can provide ‘virtual reality’ tours of an historical site by combining imagery with annotations, text and sound through an interactive graphic user interface.
Ten further chapters broaden the book’s scope to various heritage applications of digital photography. They cover library documents, museum objects, fine-art paintings, vintage photographs, rare books, papyrus manuscripts and polychrome sculpture, and have been contributed by experts at some of the world’s leading institutions. The chapters on technology follow the logical progression from image capture through image processing, database storage, colour management, image compression and quality assessment.
A specific research contribution within the book is Chapter 15, “Imaging of Stained Glass Windows”, which summarises the author’s research activity in this subject.