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Reflectance Transformation Imaging

Page history last edited by Nancy Proctor 9 years, 11 months ago

Session title: Reflectance Transformation Imaging: Creating Rich Imaging for Interactive Use

Presenters: Susan Grinols (Director of Photo Services and Imaging, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco); Michael Ashley (Digital Conservation Architect, Cultural Heritage Imaging)

 

Brief Abstract:

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) recently completed a Kress funded project with Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) to determine the usefulness of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for museum conservation. The grant results showed that RTI not only has great potential for conservation treatment, research, and outreach, but is an excellent tool for curators as well. This technology empowers self-exploration and discovery of objects under the conservators/curators care without the need for imaging specialists or high tech equipment. We will demonstrate RTI capture results and discuss the implications of RTI for museum conservation, interpretation and public understanding.

 

Abstract:

 

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) recently completed a Kress funded project with Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) to determine the usefulness of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for museum conservation. Museum conservators handpicked objects from the FAMSF collections for imaging by CHI, and were asked for their unbiased impressions of the technical results. Using low tech (low cost) photo equipment and open source software, RTI can render an object’s texture and media in amazing detail, revealing surface features that can’t be seen by the naked eye or by using conventional raking light photography. Additionally, the data produced by RTI are scientifically reliable. RTI tools keep a digital lab notebook that describes the means and circumstances of the RTI image's creation, allowing others to evaluate the image's quality and potential for reuse. Metadata is automatically captured making image preservation seamless. The grant results showed that RTI not only has great potential for conservation treatment, research, and outreach, but is an excellent tool for curators as well. This technology empowers self-exploration and discovery of objects under the conservators/curators care without the need for imaging specialists or high tech equipment. We are also looking into getting the results in front of the public via our web site and gallery display. We will demonstrate RTI capture results and discuss the implications of RTI for museum conservation, interpretation and public understanding.

 

Session Info

  • Type: Case Study Showcase
  • Keywords: imaging, conservation, RTI, photography, interpretation
  • Relevance: Target Audience: Imaging staff, conservators, curators, educators
  • Relevance: Imaging technology easily implemented with existing photography setups produces remarkable visualizations that reveal hidden details of collection objects.

 

Speaker Bios 

 

Susan Grinols

Susan Grinols holds an MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Susan started her career as a conservation photographer at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where she currently holds the post of Director of Photo Services and Imaging.  Susan has been instrumental in many high-tech imaging projects at the museum, including the creation of gallery panoramas, 3D imaging, and RTI. She has also lectured on museum imaging, preservation, and related topics to various groups.

 

Michael Ashley

Michael Ashley Ph.D. is digital conservation architect at Cultural Heritage Imaging. Dr. Ashley has more than 16 years of experience in cultural heritage informatics management and education. He received his Ph. D. at UC Berkeley, where he co-founded several initiatives, including the award winning Open Knowledge and the Public Interest (OKAPI), and the Media Vault Program, which seeks to develop digital preservation frameworks for research and scholarship. An archaeological photographer by training, he was the Media Team lead for the Çatalhöyük Research Project for more than 7 years and has worked on heritage preservation projects worldwide.

 

 

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