Videos: Recorded Talks on RTI at The Met Symposium

The Met

Sponsored by this grant, Cultural Heritage Imaging partnered with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to present a two-day symposium, March 7–8, 2017, with a focus on use cases and recent tools and research in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and related computational photography techniques. Watch the videos of the talks.

Instructional Videos on Photogrammetry

CHI's Video Series on Photogrammetry

Watch our instructional videos on Vimeo: Practical, Scientific Use of Photogrammetry. Topics include examples and 3D information, collection basics, and capturing complex subjects, among others. More…

Blogs About the NEH Training Classes

Everything Is Better in 3D”
— Lauren Fair, Associate Objects Conservator from the Winterthur Museum in Buffalo, New York, blogged about the grant-sponsored photogrammetry training there.

Learning Scientific Photogrammetry”
— Kevin Gidusko, Public Archaeologist with the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), blogged about the grant-sponsored photogrammetry training held at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).

Illumination of Material Culture: A Symposium on Computational Photography and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) at The Met, March 7-8, 2017”
— Emily B. Frank, currently pursuing a Joint MS in Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and MA in History of Art at New York University, blogged about the two-day symposium sponsored by the grant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

What Is RTI?

Learning RTI at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, 2015

Learn about Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), a computational photographic method that captures a subject’s surface shape and color and enables the interactive re-lighting of the subject from any direction. More…

What is Photogrammetry?

Scale bars for photogrammetry

Learn more about photogrammetry, a powerful imaging technique grounded in measurement science that can be used to create 3D content.

NEH logo

Preservation and Access Education and Training Grant

Advanced Imaging Skills for Humanities Collections Professionals

Contents:  Impact on Trainees  Impact on User Materials  Symposium at The Met  Hosts and Partners  Photo Galleries 

Photogrammetry trainees at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute

Photogrammetry trainees at Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute setting up a turntable and camera on a tripod to image a subject in the round.

This two-year grant project was funded beginning January 1, 2016 and was completed on December 31, 2017.

Thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation and Access Education and Training program, Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) successfully delivered seven training sessions around the United States in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and photogrammetry. These sessions introduced professionals and pre-professionals to these state-of-the-art imaging technologies through a series of hands-on training classes, training 83 participants. The classes provided training in how to apply RTI and photogrammetry using scientific, rule-based procedures to obtain the highest quality results.

In addition to the training classes, the project disseminated recent advances to the rapidly growing community of users. This effort included a sold-out, two-day symposium, hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 2017, with over 100 attendees.

Impact on Trainees

The grant continued and expanded CHI's groundbreaking work in providing training in two techniques in computational photography: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and photogrammetry. These powerful imaging and archiving technologies have shown their enormous potential for the documentation, preservation, and analysis of the humanities materials found in collections of all sizes.

The training program consisted of seven 4-day training classes in RTI and photogrammetry for collections professionals and pre-professionals working with public or nonprofit humanities collections in the United States, including those of art, history, archaeology, libraries, and archives. Each training session included three instructors for up to fifteen participants, and combined lecture, demonstration, and extensive hands-on practice.

A total of 83 humanities professionals were trained in advanced computational photography imaging methods and software, including a significant number of training seats reserved for professionals from small institutions. The classes were open by application and hosted by institutions across the country. The application process gave priority to people at small institutions with staffs of 25 FTE or fewer.

RTI Training Classes

Photogrammetry Training Classes

RTI class trainees at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Trainees in RTI at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) position the flash for an image capture session.

Impact on User Materials

CHI’s RTI and photogrammetry training and user materials were updated to incorporate the latest advances.

Training Materials

Course materials used in the classes were revised to include the latest research and information about new software tools under development. Some of those updates were added to the Photogrammetry technology page on this website, including new sections: “How to Capture” and “Archiving the Results.”

Instructional Videos

Instructional videos on photogrammetry

The grant funding also enabled the creation and dissemination of a new series of instructional videos on photogrammetry to aid users online. The CHI team created a new channel on Vimeo and posted three new instructional videos describing aspects of photogrammetry for creating 3D models.

The Met

Two-Day Symposium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For two days, March 7–8, 2017, the Met hosted a two-day symposium with a focus on use cases and recently developed RTI tools and research and related computational photography techniques.

Entitled “Illumination of Material Culture: A Symposium on Computational Photography and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI)”, the event was designed for anyone working with or considering adopting RTI and related imaging techniques for collections. Over 100 conservators and humanities collections professionals attended the sold-out event.

After the symposium, The Met posted videos of the talks to further disseminate the latest information about imaging tools and techniques, benefitting a wider audience of users.

Hosts and Partners

This NEH training grant project was a collaboration with eight host institutions/collaborators, five consultants/technical advisors, and a senior technical writer.

Training Class Hosts

Buffalo State
Buffalo State logo “CHI’s goals are very well suited to NEH’s preservation and access to cultural heritage collections program. The Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State will be participating as a host site.”

— Patrick Ravines, Director and Associate Professor

4-Day Photogrammetry Training Class: August 8–11, 2016. This class was restricted to members of the Association of North American Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property (ANAGPIC).
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco logo “CHI is a valuable resource for the cultural heritage community. I am delighted that we can support their efforts of getting RTI and photogrammetry into the hands of the professionals who work with, care for, and provide access to these important collections.”

— Sue Grinols, Director of Photo Services and Imaging at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young and Legion of Honor

4-Day RTI Training Class: September 27–30, 2016.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) logo “I am pleased to support this effort by CHI and feel honored to host them at LACMA.”

— Mark Gilberg, Director of the Suzanne D. Booth and David G. Booth Conservation Center at LACMA

4-Day RTI Training Class: October 17–20, 2016.
Yale University’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
Yale University’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage logo “We are confident that the level of commitment to education, preservation, and access expressed by CHI has the capacity to set great precedent in the field. IPCH has enthusiastically agreed to serve as host to one of the training sessions aimed at educating professionals working with public humanities collections.”

— Stefan Simon, Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University

4-Day RTI Training Class: April 4-7, 2017.
Classics Department, University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas logo “As Chair of the Department of Classics, I strongly support this proposal. I look forward to the opportunity to host a training workshop that I think will be of great benefit to the humanities community at The University of Texas at Austin and to a broader range of heritage professionals across Central Texas.”

— Lesley Dean-Jones, Chair, Department of Classics

4-Day Photogrammetry Training Class: May 8-11, 2017.
Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute (MCI)
Smithsonian MCI logo “We are happy to provide a training venue here at the Smithsonian Institution. I am pleased to support this effort by CHI and I find that the organization’s mission of training heritage professionals with innovative, portable, and non-destructive techniques is impressive and essential.”

— E. Keats Webb, Digital Imaging Specialist at Smithsonian's MCI

4-Day Photogrammetry Training Class: September 12-15, 2017.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) logo “The training programs offered by CHI result in invaluable new skills which allow for new points of access into seeing and understanding our cultural property. We are honored to host and be a part of a photogrammetry session at SFMOMA.”

— Michelle Barger, Head of Conservation at SFMOMA

4-Day Photogrammetry Training Class: October 17-20, 2017.

Grant Consultants and Advisors

Five consultant/experts volunteered their time and expertise for the grant project, as well as one technical writer.

Photo Galleries from the Training Classes on Flickr

At the conclusion of the grant project, the CHI team posted these photo galleries on Flickr, visually documenting five of the training classes that were sponsored by the grant.

Please note: Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.