What Is RTI?

Read our overview of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), a breakthrough class of imaging techniques used in cultural heritage and natural history documentation and preservation, enabling the study of the minute details of surfaces.

4-day training session

Flickr Slide Show: Training at the Six ANAGPIC Schools

View a slide show of the training sessions at the six schools where CHI was able to offer RTI training, funded by the 21MP grant. Watch the slide show…

Flickr Slide Show: Training at the Four Regional Host Museums

CHI delivered 21MP-sponsored training hosted by four regional museums, attended by museum professionals from all over the United States following an application process. Watch the slide show…

Learn About RTI Training from CHI

CHI offers classes and workshops in computational photography techniques, including Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). We train conservators, archaeologists, museum curators, museum photographers, special collections librarians, and anyone who wants to learn how to use the low-cost, digital techniques in which CHI specializes. More…

IMLS logo

IMLS Grant-Sponsored Trainees: What They Said

With a generous grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 21st Century Museum Professionals grant program, CHI was able to deliver 10 training sessions on Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). Here are comments from the 21MP trainees at the hosting museums and at the school graduate programs in conservation where the classes were held. More about the 21MP grant…

Regional Training Host Museums

The training sessions hosted by these museums were attended by museum professionals from all over the United States, following an application process.

Worcester Art Museum
Worcester Art Museum logo This training class was held July 11-14, 2011 at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. The museum is world-renowned for its 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints, drawings and new media, spanning 5,000 years of art and culture.

See CHI's project page and CHI's press release about this training class.
“I learned a ton. It was very helpful and clear. I liked the balance of lectures and open/free time to work with people on hands-on projects.”

“This is very exciting technology with new applications.”
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
SFMOMA logo This training class was held August 15-18, 2011 at SFMOMA in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1935, SFMOMA was the first museum on the US West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art. The museum exhibits work by both modern masters and younger, less-established artists.

See also CHI's press release (PDF) about this training class.
“Fantastic technology with opportunity to expand diverse uses....I enjoyed the workshop immensely.”

“Extremely worthwhile: rich in technical skill and scientific, optical knowledge content.”
Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI)
Smithsonian MCI logo This training class was held March 5–8, 2012 at MCI in Suitland, Maryland. MCI is the center for specialized technical collection research and conservation for all Smithsonian museums and collections.

See also MCI's page about their use of RTI and CHI's page of RTI examples from the Squeeze Imaging Project at MCI.
“The lecture and hands-on instruction were invaluable!”

“I was completely impressed with the presenters, their skill, professionalism, their organization, their teaching philosophy, their knowledge, their interest in the needs of photographers and conservators...”
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Indianapolis Museum of Art logo This training class was held September 10–13, 2012 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Founded in 1883, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is among the 10 largest and 10 oldest general art museums in the nation, with an encyclopedic collection of more than 54,000 works.
“The instructors were extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn many techniques.”

“I felt empowered and the technology is easy and low-tech enough to implement immediately.”

Graduate Programs in Fine Art Conservation

The hosting schools are members of ANAGPIC, the Association of North American Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property. The sessions were attended by graduate students and faculty from the programs, and in some cases, invited museum professional guests.

New York University
NYU Conservation Center logo This training class was held March 16–19, 2011 at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, a graduate program within New York University for the study of the technology and conservation of works of art and historic artifacts.

See the Conservation Center Newsgram (PDF) about the training class for more information.
“I had a great time learning about and practicing using RTI. It's very exciting,interesting, fun, and user-friendly.”

“It was awesome! Learned a lot and am looking forward to using it for future projects.”
Straus Center / Harvard Art Museums
Harvard Art Museum logo This training class was held May 17–20, 2011 at the The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies.

The Straus Center provides analysis and treatments for the Harvard Art Museums’ more than 250,000 objects, ranging from antiquity to the present, from Europe, North and South America, North Africa, Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.
“Fantastic! The instructors were very well prepared, knowledgeable, and thorough.”

“Very informative, very knowledgeable teachers, fantastic new technology with amazing potential.”
Queen's University, Canada
Queens University logo This training class was held Sept 16–19, 2011 at Queen's University, a publicly funded research institution founded in 1841 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Queen's University offers the only Master of Art Conservation program in Canada; students specialize in the conservation of paintings, artifacts, or paper objects or carry out research in conservation science.
“I was really thankful to learn this technology and how it can be useful to my future.”

“I loved it. I found this technique very interesting and useful in many areas of object conservation.”
UCLA / Cotsen Institute / Getty Conservation Program
UCLA/Cotsen Institute/Getty logo This training class was held October 31–November 3, 2011, hosted by the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, administered by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.

The Getty Conservation Program offers a 3-year Masters program, preparing students to work as professionals in the preservation of archaeological and cultural materials.
“I was thrilled by the capabilities and images presented on the first day. I was actively engaged and learning something new right up until the last day.”

“Instructors are excellent; just the right balance of theory and practice.”
Buffalo State
Buffalo State logo This training class was held January 17–20, 2012, hosted by the Buffalo State Conservation Department in Buffalo, New York.

Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department is one of the leading programs of its kind in North America. Accepting only 10 students a year, the 3-year graduate program trains conservators of fine art and cultural heritage.
“Extremely well presented. Hands-on clinics reinforced concepts from lectures. Material was really well put together and very professional presentations.”

“Very informative! I now feel fully confident to use RTI on my own.”
University of Delaware / Winterthur
Winterthur logo This training class was held January 22–25, 2013 in Winterthur, Delaware.

The Winterthur Museum in a joint sponsorship with the University of Delaware offers an Art Conservation program (WUDPAC) whose graduates work with major museums and cultural institutions throughout the United States and Europe.
“It was great! The instructors were very knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and engaging.”

“This was an excellent workshop and I feel knowing how to do RTI will make me stand out in my applications.”