Examining a dinosaur jaw at U. of California's Museum of Paleontology

Examining a Tyrannosaurus Rex jaw fragment with Mark Goodwin at the University of California Museum of Paleontology

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RTI and Art Conservation

Adoption of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for museum conservation is expanding. Watch this 23-minute video sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, filmed at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (FAMSF), to learn how CHI is deploying this new and powerful technology to help art conservators examine and document objects, design conservation treatments, and conduct technical materials research. See the video…


Since 2005, Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) has been publishing technical papers and presenting them at professional conferences all over the world. As our technologies and projects evolve, we publish our research and disseminate our findings to advance the field of cultural conservation and documentation.

Book Chapter from Copy Culture: Sharing in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Copy Culture book

Chapter Title: “Keeping Track of How We Scan”

This chapter of the book Copy Culture: Sharing in the Age of Digital Reproduction contains an interview on page 107 with Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer of CHI. They discuss the Digital Lab Notebook, a suite of software tools designed to help record how a digital representation is made. The DLN describes the means and circumstances of digital information capture from a real-world subject and tracks all the events that happen during the processing of this information into a completed digital representation. More …

Paper presented by CHI at the Archiving 2017 conference in Riga, Latvia

DLN:CC Dashboard

“A Context Metadata Collection and Management Tool for Computational Photography Projects”

This paper presents the first module of an advanced set of metadata and knowledge management tools to record a Digital Lab Notebook (DLN), the equivalent of the traditional scientist’s lab notebook. The DLN:Capture Context (DLN:CC) tool describes the means and context of photographic data capture. The tool is designed for broad use across computational photography technologies. More…

Paper presented by CHI and Simon Fraser University in RATS Postprints Volume 5

aboriginal boomerang with RTI enhancement

“Accurate Measurement and the Quantification of Surface and Material Property Change Using New RTI and AR Techniques”

This paper appears in Volume 5 of the proceedings from the Research and Technical Studies (RATS) Postprints, published after the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation and Artistic Works (AIC) in San Francisco in 2014. More…

Article in the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

ASIS&T Bulletin

Article: “Advanced Imaging Tools for Museum and Library Conservation and Research”

To a special section of this bulletin entitled “Museum Informatics: Something New, Something More,” CHI Director Carla Schroer contributed an article that highlights CHI's work in art conservation using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) technology. More …

Book Chapter from A Companion to Rock Art

Chapter Title: “Robust, Scientifically Reliable Rock Art Documentation from Digital Photographs”

This chapter of the forthcoming book “A Companion to Rock Art” is one of three in the section called “Rock Art as Digital Heritage: Advances in Photo Enhancement Technology and Digital Archiving”. The authors discuss the use of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Algorithmic Rendering, and Photogrammetry with rock art. The book as a whole offers a broad overview of a field that has evolved over the last decades with the exploration of petroglyph and pictograph art forms around the world. More …

Book Chapter from Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage

Chapter Title: “Transparency for Empirical Data”

In this chapter, Mark Mudge addresses cultural heritage professionals who are engaged in Internet-based scientific inquiry. He describes the challenges of providing intellectual transparency and accountability in visualization-based historical research, citing the standards, trends, and concepts that are of interest to these professionals. In the book as a whole, to be published in February 2012, the authors address a range of cognitive and technological challenges, making a strong case for a wider recognition of three-dimensional visualization as a constructive, intellectual process and valid methodology for historical research and its communication. More …

Technical White Paper Commissioned by Cultural Heritage Imaging: February 2011

METS schema subset

“METS and the CIDOC CRM—A Comparison”

This technical white paper compares the functional roles of the CIDOC CRM and METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) with respect to metadata encoding and the management of interoperability and information integration in heterogeneous, distributed digital library environments. It investigates the ways in which both standards can be optimally used in combination. The report calls upon managers and practitioners to support decisions about the deployment of these standards and to serve as guides for the effective use of both standards. More …

ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH) 2010

kissing women image from CHI tutorial

“Dynamic Shading Enhancement for Reflectance Transformation Imaging”

In this paper the authors propose a set of dynamic shading enhancement techniques for improving the perception of details, features, and overall shape characteristics from images created with Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) techniques. Selection of these perceptual enhancement filters can significantly improve the user's ability to interactively inspect the content of 2D RTI media by zooming, panning, and changing the illumination direction. In particular, we present two groups of strategies for RTI image enhancement based on two main ideas: exploiting the unsharp masking methodology in the RTI-specific context; and locally optimizing the incident light direction for improved RTI image sharpness and illumination of surface features. More …

VAST 2010

Egyptian mural at Phoebe Hearst Museum

“Principles and Practices of Robust, Photography-based Digital Imaging Techniques for Museums”

This tutorial presented many examples of existing and cutting-edge uses of photography-based imaging, including Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Algorithmic Rendering (AR), camera calibration, and methods of imaged-based generation of textured 3D geometry. More …

Springer Journal Virtual Reality and VAST 2009

luminaire and real flame contrast

“Illuminating the Past: State of the Art”

This report reviews the current state of illuminating cultural heritage sites and objects using computer graphics for scientific, preservation and research purposes. It is for researchers new to cultural heritage reconstruction who want to learn about existing methods and examples of illuminating the past. It was initially published for VAST 2009; subsequently, the paper was updated and published in the Springer Journal Virtual Reality, Volume 14, Issue 3. More …

CAA 2009

image from CAA 2009

“Grass-roots Imaging: A Case Study in Sustainable Heritage Imaging at Chersonesos, Ukraine”

This paper documents a joint project of the Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICA) of the University of Texas at Austin, Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), and the National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos in Crimea, Ukraine. The project centered on a workshop in which staff of the National Preserve learned to use Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to document unique objects from the Chersonesos museum. More…

CAA 2008 and WAC 2008

Intellectual Property and Open Source workshop

“Open Archaeology: Fundamentals of Intellectual Property and Open Source”

At both these conferences, CHI conducted a workshop on open-source software, intellectual property ownership, licensing, and other topics as they relate to archaeology and cultural conservation. More …

Eurographics 2008

Overlay: PTM versus hemispherical harmonics

“Image-Based Empirical Information Acquisition, Scientific Reliability, and Long-Term Digital Preservation for the Natural Sciences and Cultural Heritage”

This tutorial discusses emerging digital technologies and explores issues influencing widespread adoption of digital practices for natural science and cultural heritage. The tutorial explores a possible digital future for these fields through key concepts; adoption of digital surrogates, empirical (scientific) provenance, perpetual digital conservation, and “born-archival” semantic knowledge management. More …

CIPA 2007

CIPA 2007 talk banner

“A Digital Future for Cultural Heritage”

The tools and standards of best practice adopted by cultural heritage professionals will determine the digital future of work in this field. This paper explores issues influencing adoption decisions and discusses emerging digital technologies that encourage widespread adoption. More …

EVA 2007

Capturing the apse mosaic at Angeloktisti Church, Cyprus

“Lighting and Byzantine Glass Tesserae”

In this paper we describe how we captured a Polynomial Texture Map of the apse mosaic at the Angeloktisti Church at Kiti, Cyprus and used it to investigate how the position of the lighting may have affected the appearance of the mosaic. More …

Society for Imaging Science and Technology 2007

PTM image captured with raking angle illumination

“The Simultaneous Capture of Spectral and Textural Information”

Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) co-founders Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer, and CHI's imaging director Marlin Lum, adapted Reflection Transformation Imaging (RTI) technology to document artifacts spanning millennia of human history from three awesome archaeological collections in Switzerland. More …

VAST 2006

Highlight RTI method

“New Reflection Transformation Imaging Methods for Rock Art and Multiple-Viewpoint Display”

In this 2006 paper, we offer two new methods of documenting and communicating cultural heritage information using Reflection Transformation Imaging (RTI). One imaging method is able to acquire Polynomial Texture Maps (PTMs) of three-dimensional (3D) rock art in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and environmental contexts. More …

VAST 2005

Julian Star with Specular Enhancement

“Reflection Transformation Imaging and Virtual Representations of Coins from the Hospice of the Grand St. Bernard”

Reflection Transformation Imaging (RTI) offers a powerful new method of documenting and communicating numismatic cultural heritage information. This paper examines the challenges of documenting numismatic material along with the limitations of traditional documentary techniques. More …