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RTI device setup image from the VAST 2009 tutorial

Download this publication from this site (or you can buy an updated version from the Springer Virtual Reality journal archive) and learn more about illumination models used in cultural heritage documentation and preservation.

“Illuminating the Past: State of the Art”

Left: Simple luminaire model. Right: Real flame in virtual environment

Left: Simple luminaire model. Right: Real flame in virtual environment

About This Publication

Authors Jassim Happa, Mark Mudge, Kurt Debattista, Alessandro Artusi, Alexandrino Gonçalves, Alan Chalmers
Presented at VAST 2009, The 10th International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
Date and Location September 22–25, 2009, Malta
PDF File of Original Paper Download (636 KB PDF)
Subsequent (Updated) Version Journal Virtual Reality, Volume 14, Number 3


Virtual reconstruction and representation of historical environments and objects have been of research interest for nearly two decades. Physically-based and historically accurate illumination allows archaeologists and historians to authentically visualise a past environment to deduce new knowledge about it. This report reviews the current state of illuminating cultural heritage sites and objects using computer graphics for scientific, preservation, and research purposes. We present the most noteworthy and up-to-date examples of reconstructions employing appropriate illumination models in object and image space and in the visual perception domain. Finally, we also discuss the difficulties in rendering, documentation, and validation, and we identify probable research challenges for the future. The report is aimed for researchers new to cultural heritage reconstruction who want to learn about existing methods and examples of illuminating the past.