European researchers have demonstrated a means of digitizing paintings by fusing many photographs from different angles, obviating the need for a high-performance camera.
According to Jean-Michel Morel, a professor at the Centre de Mathematiques et de Leurs Applications (CMLA) at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan (Cachan, France), the procedure is simple and can be performed by an amateur photographer with a commercial hand-held camera.
The only requirement is for the photographer to take as many shots from as many angles as possible, making sure that no particular detail is affected by glare in a majority of the photographs.
After the images have been captured, they are then processed by an image processing algorithm that eliminates motion blur, reduces noise, and compensates for optical distortion in the registration process.
The researchers say the technique works under bad lighting conditions and even when a painting is protected by a glass screen creating structured reflections of the room.
The technique was described in detail in a paper entitled "Photographing Paintings by Image Fusion" which was published this month in the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Journal on Imaging Sciences. More information can be found here.
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