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Digital Materiality with Enhanced Reflectance Transformation Imaging

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The Digital Humanities Lab is a research institute of the faculty of Humanities of the University of Basel. The research profile of the dhLab is centered around computer science, digital imaging, digital photography and the accessibility of digital objects in humanities research. The project Digital Materiality examines how new methods to describe the reflection of light on surfaces can be applied to art historical research. In the main focus are mosaics and early prints. Both types of artwork have a strong interaction with light. Unfortunately standard photographic approaches are not able to capture the dynamic component of the light-surface interdependence.

The technical part of the project focuses on improving RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) techniques. By modifying the model accordingly to the requirements of art historical research, the digital reproduction shall be able to transport the relevant attributes of the original in the digital domain. The improvements take into account more sophisticated but still robust reflection models that allow the realistic visualization of diffuse and specular surfaces. The visualization is implemented in WebGL, to allow the integration of RTI in an web-based environment, especially Virtual Research Environments, VREs
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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