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Studying a figure at the Worcester Art Museum

In the Conservation Lab at the Worcester Art Museum

Sign up for our e-newsletter and keep up to date with our events, projects, workshops, technical development, downloads, photos, and more. Delivered right to your inbox, the CHI e-newsletter will inform you when we release new (and free) technology, any new grants we have been awarded, where we are holding on-site training workshops for museum professionals, and news about demonstrations and other events.

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CHI takes your privacy seriously. Your email address will be used for the sole purpose of sending you our occasional e-newsletter. We will not share, sell, or otherwise provide your contact information to any other party. We will promptly remove you from our mailing list upon request: a link to opt out of the mailing list is provided with every mailing. We are grateful for your willingness to receive our e-newsletter.


2014 E-newsletters

Springing Forward: New Blood, New Training, New Expertise
(March 2014)

Dear CHI Friends,

Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) is on a roll this spring with a distinguished new member of the Board, an upcoming RTI training class, a new educational thrust into the science of photogrammetry, and an array of consulting services in computational photography.

Welcome, Tom Malzbender!

CHI is thrilled to welcome Tom as a new member of the CHI Board. A research scientist working in computer vision, imaging, and 3D graphics, Tom was formerly at Hewlett-Packard Labs where he and Dan Gelb invented Polynomial Texture Mapping, the first form of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). Tom is perhaps best known for his work imaging the Antikythera Mechanism, a project that led to the deciphering of that ancient astronomical computer. Tom has been collaborating with CHI since 2002, advising on some projects and co-authoring several papers with CHI. He continues to advance the technology and practice of image-based relighting and its practical application to archaeology, museum sciences, oceanography, and other fields. We are delighted to have access to Tom’s expertise!

Hands-on Training in RTI: April 8-11

You’ve heard about Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) — this spring you can finally add it to your skill set! Sign up for CHI’s next 4-day RTI training class at the CHI studio in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 8 through Friday, April 11. Learn everything you need to know to set up, photograph, process and view RTIs. Get more information about this April class and sign up to learn RTI!

Photogrammetry: Hot Field in Conservation and Archaeology

Photogrammetry is the practice of deriving 3D measurements (quantitative data) from overlapping sequences of digital photographs to determine the size, shape, position, and texture of objects. With the spread of digital photography and the availability of mass storage devices for captured imagery, photogrammetry has never been more practical and useful, finding increased uptake by professionals in archaeology, conservation, geology, underwater exploration, and forensic work.

Now CHI is extending its training program by offering a 3-day class in photogrammetry (pilot session is already full!) to be held in mid-April at the CHI studio in San Francisco. In future, CHI plans to open the class to all interested parties 2 to 3 times a year. Contact us at training@c-h-i.org if you are interested in attending a future photogrammetry class.

Consulting by CHI: Custom Services in Computational Photography

CHI provides consulting services to both institutional and private clients, with special rates for nonprofit organizations. Let CHI experts take the worry out of your specific imaging challenge. The experts at CHI have more than 30 years’ combined experience and can customize consulting services to suit your needs, including small projects. Consulting can take place via phone, email, or in person. Here are some examples of how CHI can help with your project.

For more information and other examples of CHI’s consulting services, see our refreshed Consulting web page.

New! CHI Glossary

An essential companion to your work in RTI and computational photography, CHI’s newly published “Glossary of Photographic and Technical Terms for RTI” is now available on our web site. For practiced users and newcomers alike, the glossary is a compendium of words and phrases associated with the domain of RTI and related imaging practices. It contains definitions of photographic terms, computer graphics and computer vision terms, file formats, as well as newer terms related to keeping a process history of RTI work. We adapted the definitions for RTI users, and we also included a few notes and recommendations on photographic settings. Read more in our blog.

Come Join Us at the AIC Annual Meeting in May 2014!

On May 28, as part of the annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), the CHI team will offer a workshop on computational photography and its application to conservation documentation and research. The workshop will be held from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the CHI studio in San Francisco. Come join us!

At 3:00 pm on May 29, CHI president Mark Mudge, along with Mark Drew, computer science professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada, will present a talk as part of the RATS session in the program. This talk examines new research that will dramatically improve the accuracy of the results generated by Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Algorithmic Rendering (AR).

CHI at MIT in February 2014

On February 27, Carla Schroer of CHI presented a talk at Hayden Library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hosted by the MIT Libraries’ Curation and Preservation Services Department, the talk was free and open to the public. Carla described the latest robust new empirical image capture and analysis tools: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Algorithmic Rendering (AR), and Structure from Motion (SFM) generation of textured 3D geometry.

CHI at Eastern Analytical Symposium & Exposition (EAS) November 2013

Last November, at the meeting of the Eastern Analytical Symposium & Exposition (EAS) in Somerset, New Jersey, Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer presented 2 talks in a two-part session entitled “Analytical Imaging for Cultural Heritage.” They described new research from Princeton University, Simon Fraser University, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum that demonstrates how the techniques associated with computational photography can be used to track changes in object surfaces. They also explored the necessity for transparent evaluation of scientific digital representations, or “digital surrogates,” that can reliably serve as digital stand-ins for subsequent scientific or scholarly examinations.

Thank you to Scott Verges!

We would like to thank outgoing board member Scott Verges. Scott has served on the CHI Board since 2008, and we really appreciate his time, effort, ideas, and enthusiasm! Thanks, Scott!

2013 E-newsletters

Help CHI + New RTIViewer (December 2013)

Dear CHI Friends,

The end of 2013 is fast approaching, and we need your help!

Annual Giving Campaign Ends December 31, 2013

CHI relies on the support of people like you who care about cultural heritage, historic sites, and natural history collections. Your generous support by December 31 will allow us to continue to empower and grow this community until people all over the world can document and share humanity’s treasures today and in future generations.

We are happy to report that digital imaging tools and methods developed by CHI and our worldwide collaborators are in use on every continent on Earth. Yes, even in Antarctica, a conservator is using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to examine artifacts from the doomed Scott expedition to the South Pole.

RTI tools fostered by CHI are transforming the field of fine art conservation. The adoption of these tools has spread through the museum community, and we are seeing increased uptake in archaeology projects.

To date CHI has directly trained over 300 museum professionals, archaeologists, and researchers from more than 70 institutions in robust scientific digital imaging techniques. In turn, many of them have taught others. This “teach a person to fish” philosophy has fostered a growing, thriving user community. Online, the free CHIForums is growing, a discussion site where users share the latest digital imaging advancements and help each other improve their imaging skills.

Do You Use RTI? Will You Help Support It?

This year our Annual Giving Campaign coincides with the release of new and improved RTI software.

We need your help to continue offering RTI software updates, user guides, user forums, videos, and other materials to the cultural heritage community.

When you donate to keep RTI software and guides updated and available, you are also supporting cultural heritage preservation, museum conservation, and natural science and forensics research—all the fields in which RTI has become an important imaging technique.

How to Donate

Please make a tax-deductible (in the USA) donation to Cultural Heritage Imaging by December 31, 2013. All contributions of any amount will help. As a small nonprofit organization, we need—and deeply appreciate—your financial help. Thank you!

More Ways to Help CHI Thrive

In addition to donations, there are many ways you can help CHI succeed. Please pass on this email to others who might be interested in our work; “Like us” on Facebook; introduce our work to colleagues who could take advantage of the tools, training, and services we provide; become a CHI volunteer. Read more about the ways you can get involved.

New RTIViewer Release 1.1

We are pleased to announce an update to the free and open source RTIViewer software.

RTIViewer 1.1 is now available for download on the CHI web site. This latest release of the viewing software includes these new features:

New RTIBuilder 3.0 Release on the Way

We are also working on a major new release of RTIBuilder. Your donation makes possible our updates to the software, user guides, and other free materials.

Thank you and best wishes from the CHI Team!

Summer 2013

Dear CHI Friends,

The team at Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) wishes you a happy summer solstice and invites you to celebrate the latest advances we've made in the world of reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) and preservation of cultural heritage worldwide. CHI has added major instructional updates to the RTI User Guide, uploaded informative new videos, and reached out to the Spanish-speaking world with translations of our user guides.

User Guide Update: Working With Light & Shadow

CHI has posted a major update (RTI: Guide to Highlight Image Capture, Version 2.0) of the original v1.1 user guide, describing the camera, lighting, software, object and reflective sphere setup, and capture sequence process. The enhanced guide contains new features, more detailed descriptions, and more how-to illustrations.

New Video Instruction Tools Available

In another stride to aid users in the capture technique, CHI has posted a new how-to video (Light Positioning for Horizontal RTI Data Capture) describing the basic concepts and steps for light positioning in a horizontal RTI data capture. An additional video, Light Positioning for Vertical RTI Data Capture, is in the works.

Nuevo! RTI Materiales en Español!

Thanks to the translation efforts of volunteers Ana Nieves and Silvia Manrique, CHI now offers Spanish speakers two RTI user guides in Spanish: Imágenes por Transformación de Reflectancia: Guióa Para La Captura de Imágenes Utilizando Luces Portátiles, Versión 1.1SP (RTI capture guide) and Guía Para El RTIViewer, Versión 1.0.2SP (RTI Viewer Guide). CHI will post more Spanish translations as they become available — check CHI's Spanish translation page for future additions of Spanish language material and links to RTI resources in Spanish.

2013 International Rock Art Congress (IFRAO)

CHI’s Carla Schroer and Mark Mudge presented a workshop at the IFRAO 2013 conference (International Rock Art Congress, hosted by the American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico) on May 30. In the workshop, presented in two one-hour segments, they examined the robust new empirical capture and analysis tools RTI, algorithmic rendering (AR), camera calibration, and image-based structure from motion (SFM) generation of textured 3D geometry. While attending IFRAO 2013, the CHI team took a field trip to capture some data at the Petroglyph National Monument, and they posted photos on the CHI Facebook page, as well as a blog entry about the experience.

CHI's RTI Discussion Forum Community Grows

CHI’s free discussion forum site is a resource where RTI and photogrammetry users can share their questions, discoveries, and problems-to-be-solved as they use the technology. The forum has been rapidly expanding with new users and new content. There are now more than 125 members, and there have been more than 500 postings to the forum since its launch earlier this year. The forum is a great way for RTI users to stay up to date and get advice as they apply the technique.

The Impact of CHI’s 21st Century Museum Professionals (21MP) Grant

The 21MP training grant program, generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), has come to a close. In addition to enabling CHI to deliver the 10 training workshops supported by the grant, the funding supported the continuing development of RTI software and user materials and the launch of a free, online RTI community forum where members can share information as they use the technology. See also CHI’s new image galleries on Flickr, including photos taken on site at the training sessions at the four regional host museums and at the six ANAGPIC schools (Association of North American Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property).

Please Help Support the Software & User Materials CHI Delivers

If you value RTI software and user guides, please consider donating to Cultural Heritage Imaging. As a small nonprofit organization, we deeply appreciate and need your help to continue our mission.

March 2013

Dear CHI Friends,

The first few months of 2013 have been interesting for Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), to say the least! We defended our fabulous and popular discussion forum from cybercriminals who tried to hack into it and use it for their nefarious plans. CHI also participated in a unique digital heritage project with the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, expanded our imaging techniques into the forensic field, and collaborated with archaeologists and heritage professionals at a variety of gatherings. We couldn't have done it without the wonderful help and support you give us!

Shout Out To Our Supporters Of 2012

CHI is grateful to everyone who has supported Cultural Heritage Imaging this past year—whether you worked directly with us, participated in a CHI training class, joined the CHI discussion forum, “liked” us on Facebook, sent us a donation, and/or offered any other kind of support for CHI. As a small nonprofit organization, we deeply appreciate and need your help to continue our mission.

Intrepid CHI Team Defeats Hackers and Restores Our Discussion Forum!

CHI is happy to provide a free discussion forum site where our users can share their questions, discoveries, and problems to be solved while using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) technology. As some of you know, our forum was hacked by intruders late last year, which led to a temporary outage. The good news is we have resolved the problem and removed the vulnerability. We have migrated the existing forum content to a professionally hosted site run by the company that creates the forum software we use.

What you should know:

Thanks to all of you who stuck with us through this frustrating period while we reconstituted the forum. You can read more here.

The CHI Team Is Part of an Emerging Science at Global Gathering

At the WAC-7 World Archaeological Congress in January 2013 by the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan, CHI’s Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer presented two talks on the advances in robust new digitization tools from the emerging science “computational photography”:

Documenting Georgia O'Keeffe's Historic Homes

In an article, “Comparing Digital Photogrammetric Methods for Preservation Documentation,” the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) describes how their 2011 grant helped fund a project run by the conservation department at the O’Keeffe museum in which CHI participated. The effort began by documenting the condition of Georgia O’Keeffe’s residences in Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, New Mexico and objects in the museum collection using 3D digital photographic technologies: RTI and Photogrammetry. In addition to the article on the NCPTT website, the project put up a very useful blog site with articles, video, how-to documents and lots of useful info about their experience and advice after undertaking this work.

Petroglyph Goats Do Roam—CHI Shares Technology Insights at Summit

CHI's old friend—the leaping goat petroglyph from Portugal—accompanied them to the Presidio of San Francisco to be an RTI example at the NCPTT's 3D documentation summit in Summer 2012. A video from that summit is being made available on the NCPTT web site, and the talk delivered by Carla Schroer and Mark Mudge is available there now (along with the goat!).

CSI San Luis Obispo—CHI Trains Forensics Specialists

In December 2012 at the San Louis Obispo Sheriff’s office, and in February 2013 at the CHI studio, CHI delivered hands-on training classes in RTI for forensics professionals. When RTI is applied in the field of forensics, it can dramatically improve the visualization of textural evidence, such as footprints, tire impressions, tool marks, fingerprints, ink crossovers, and obliterated serial numbers. CHI looks forward to more opportunities to work with the forensics community.

21st Century Training Enters Final Phase

Cultural Heritage Imaging has finished the training grant program generously funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 21st Century Museum Professionals (21MP). Collaborators from industry, higher education, computer science, and the museum community all supported the training program. CHI has achieved all of the project’s second-year objectives, including planning, organizing, and delivering the final 4 training classes out of the total of 10 supported by the 21MP grant.

Training evaluation comments by participants were universally positive regarding the value of RTI for museum research, public education, and art conservation. Trainees praised the knowledge of the CHI team, the organization of the class, and the quality of the teaching.

In the final weeks of the grant, CHI is working to complete updates to its user guides and other training materials for users to aid in the adoption of RTI.

2012 E-newsletters

December 27, 2012

“As 2012 ends, a heartfelt thank-you, an opportunity, and a gentle reminder”

Dear CHI Friends,

As the year draws to a close, we'd like to thank everyone who has supported Cultural Heritage Imaging this year—whether you worked directly with us, participated in a CHI training class, joined the CHI discussion forum, “liked” us on Facebook, sent us a donation, and/or offered any other kind of support for CHI. As a small nonprofit organization, we deeply appreciate and need your help to continue our mission.

RTI Training Class Discount

We hope you and your colleagues can take advantage of an early registration discount of $200 for our February 11-14 RTI training class if you sign up by January 11, 2013! The regular price is $1695 per person for the 4-day class, but it will be $1495 if paid by January 11. Learn more…

Even Small Donations Help CHI

It's not too late to donate to CHI! Our 2012 annual giving campaign is still underway. By donating even small amounts of money to CHI, you can help save, preserve, and share humanity’s art, cultural heritage, and natural history. Learn more…

Thank you for your support and Happy New Year!

—Carla, Mark, Marlin, and Casey (the CHI team)


December 2012: Annual Giving Campaign

Dear CHI Friends,

Are you a history buff? Are you an art lover; a museum visitor; a natural scientist or a humanities scholar? Are you a parent? If so, here’s a way you can help save, preserve, and share humanity’s art, cultural heritage, and natural history.

Cultural Heritage imaging (CHI) is a 10-year-old nonprofit corporation. CHI fosters an international collaborative community. Its founders understood that this community was needed to help drive the development and widespread adoption of robust digital tools to document and study our world scientifically. The tools and methods CHI develops are made possible by this worldwide charitable collaboration of experts in many cultural and scientific disciplines, working alongside leading digital scientists in machine vision, remote sensing, and computer graphics. As an independent charity, insulated from academic and institutional rivalries, CHI has successfully built collaborations between leading scientists, scholars, and institutions based on “pulling on the same oar” for the public good.

Your charitable gift enables CHI and its collaborators to develop tools and equip cultural heritage and natural history practitioners, museums, and other educational institutions, and the interested public with the latest in robust, photography-based, digital imaging technologies and practices. With your contribution to CHI, you are directly saving humankind’s cultural and natural history treasures. You are also empowering increasing numbers of people around the world, real boots on the ground, to build humanity’s digital legacy.

CHI’s Impact

At over 40 leading museums in North America, and in a quickly expanding number of museums across the world, tools fostered by CHI are used in conservation labs, museum/public outreach, on-site exhibits, and remote, user-interactive web displays of museum content. These tools, built by CHI and their worldwide network of software collaborators, are in use on six continents. These museums include the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, the British Museum.

At all of the art conservation graduate schools in North America, CHI has trained both faculty and graduate students, who are now using a new generation of digital imaging tools. This means that all new conservation graduates will begin their careers with knowledge of the rapidly developing digital imaging power of 21st-century technology.

In Peru, historians trained by CHI use digital tools to scientifically capture, analyze, and share the surface-feature shapes and colors of ancient petroglyphs at the Nasca Valley site.

At the Tauric Preserve of Ancient Chersonesos, Ukraine, CHI-trained Ukrainian stone conservators and 20 of their colleagues all wanted a hand in the robust digital documentation of a 3rd-century BCE national treasure, a stone engraved by ancient Greek inhabitants of this community. The stone contained an oath, affirmed by all in the population, pledging “I will not throw down the democracy.” At the same site, the Ukrainian conservators deciphered the answer to a 100-year-old mystery surrounding an expensive, imported re-carved grave marker — the name of its original owner.

CHI Is Unique

The fact that CHI is an independent charity, working solely for the public good, leverages your donation. Often, within the context of this work for the public good, CHI collaborators heavily discount their fees, and/or contribute volunteer labor.

The software tools and do-it-yourself user guides CHI develops are distributed for free. In today’s budget-conscious environment, for all but a few wealthy organizations, there are many outstretched hands for only a small and shrinking pot of available funding. CHI develops its tools and methods explicitly so that they can be used by institutions and groups with limited budgets and limited technical expertise all over the world.

The software tools are open source, so that anyone can get the programming code for the software. This means that anyone can work on the software to improve it or adapt it for a given application.

CHI tools capture the scientifically necessary information of the digital imaging process that aids long-term preservation and enables the reuse of that scientific data in the future.

By contributing to CHI, you are doing your part to preserve irreplaceable art and natural treasures for both your children and the children of the future. This investment dividend is multiplied by today’s intensive digital image research, which will produce ever more powerful ways to mine this scientifically preserved knowledge of ourselves, our ancestors, and our world.

CHI Needs Your Help

As a person concerned with humanity’s legacy, your donation to CHI is an investment in our own and future generations. For people in the US, this is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. Please donate $5, $20, $50 or any amount that you can manage to help us continue this work. Wherever you are, you can donate securely via credit card on our Donate page. Sending us a check works, too. Thank you!


October 2012

Dear CHI Friends,

Autumn is upon us—the Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) team has planted a garden of great ideas and initiatives and now we are harvesting the benefits big time! Please read on to discover our latest achievements and future events to look forward to.

CHI’s New Discussion Forums: Join the Conversation!

This conversation is for you: CHI is delighted to announce the release of our new free forums site: forums.culturalheritageimaging.org.

When you create a free account for this forum, you are joining the growing community of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) users all over the world. The forums are designed to be a learning center where you can look for both news and advice: How are museum conservators, computer scientists, natural scientists, photographers, and other related professional groups using RTI? What problems are they solving? What challenges are RTI users encountering in their projects? You and your colleagues can use the forums to share your questions, insights, and issues to gain a more complete understanding of the technology and its practical applications. CHI is grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for our 21st Century Museum Professionals grant, as a small portion of that funding helped us get the forums going.

October Training Classes in Berlin

The CHI training team (Mark Mudge, Carla Schroer, and Marlin Lum) is heading to Berlin, Germany for two back-to-back RTI training classes at the Staatliche Museen. These classes are sponsored and hosted by the Excellence Cluster Topoi, a research network with a focus on the study of the ancient world, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, where the classes will be held. The training classes are full, but there are also two workshops and a lecture that are open to the public.

Forensics Training in December

Marking a new direction in CHI training opportunities, the CHI team will conduct their first class for forensics professionals, hosted by the Sheriff’s Office in San Luis Obispo, California from December 3-7, 2012. This five-day training class is appropriate for anyone involved in photographing evidence, including forensic photographers, footwear and tire-track examiners, tool-mark examiners, trace-evidence analysts, questioned-document examiners, and crime-scene investigators. The class opens with an optional eight-hour introductory module covering photography basics, best practices, and legal concerns for RTI. The remaining four days focus on the hands-on application of RTI: how to take RTI images, compile RTI files, and disseminate these for forensic use.

New Four-Day RTI Training at the CHI Studio in February

CHI is planning a new four-day training in Reflectance Transformation Imaging, February 11-14, 2013. Visit the training page for updates and registration.

National Archaeology Day

October 20 is “National Archaeology Day” (www.nationalarchaeologyday.org), sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA, www.archaeological.org), “a celebration of archaeology and the thrill of discovery.” Every October the AIA and archaeological organizations across the United States, Canada, and abroad present archaeological programs and activities for people of all ages and interests.

Cultural Heritage Imaging is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) company. Donations are tax-deductible.


Summer 2012

Dear CHI Friends,

The summer solstice has arrived and Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) is taking advantage of all the extra daylight to whip up a full plate of activities and accomplishments. The latest news is here for your review!

SUMMER TRAINING IN SANTA FE

CHI President Mark Mudge and Director Carla Schroer are spending the final week of June with staff and interns at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum to help them kick off an eight-week O'Keeffe Museum Conservation Program Summer Preservation Project. The CHI team is helping O'Keeffe project members learn about Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and photogrammetry. Check the blog at okeeffeimagingproject.wordpress.com for more project updates as the summer progresses.

UPCOMING CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION

CHI President Mark Mudge, Director Carla Schroer, and Imaging Director Marlin Lum present a talk and a demo at the NCPTT 3D Digital Documentation Summit taking place in San Francisco, July 10-12, 2012. The talk, entitled “Advances in computational photography techniques for cultural, historic, and natural history materials” surveys the latest developments in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Algorithmic Rendering (AR), camera calibration, and methods of image-based generation of textured 3D geometry. The demonstration walks viewers through how RTI and AR are accomplished with readily available photographic gear. Visit CHI's Events page for links and other updates.

GREAT CHI APPEARANCES OF THE RECENT PAST

IMLS-Funded RTI Training. CHI held two four-day training classes at Buffalo State (January 17-20, 2012) and at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (March 5-8, 2012). These are the seventh and eighth training sessions out of 10 sponsored by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)'s 21st Century Museum Professionals Program. The IMLS grant funds RTI training for all North American graduate programs in conservation, as well as several regional training sessions open to museum professionals.

CAA 2012 Conference. In late March, Mark Mudge presented a keynote at the CAA 2012 Plenary session entitled: “Computational photography’s emergence and the ascent of digital image transparency” — view the video of his keynote. At this same conference Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer presented a workshop on Computational Photography and a paper entitled “Advances in the Computational Photography Tools: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Algorithmic Rendering (AR).”

Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC). In mid-June, Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer demonstrated how RTI has the potential to revolutionize the documentation, treatment, and research of natural history and art museum collections. They also gave an overview of the inexpensive and easy-to-learn image capture methodology and image processing based on RTI open-source software. Attendees also saw examples of the resulting RTI images using the RTIViewer, a viewing and analysis tool. The conference was hosted by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.

Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) Seminar. Carla Schroer spoke at SRI AIC's seminar series on robust new imaging tools from the emerging science known as Computational Photography. The common feature of the computational photography imaging family is the purpose-driven, selective extraction of information from sequences of digital photographs for use with a wide range of cultural and natural history materials and associated research.

New CHI Published Article. Carla Schroer published an article in the February/March 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. Entitled “Museum Informatics: Something New, Something More,” the article highlights CHI's work in art conservation using RTI technology. Among other examples, the author cites a microscopy study during an RTI training session at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies of the Harvard Art Museums. In that study, the participants examined makers' marks on gold and silver objects. This study was part of a 2011-2012 training project sponsored by the IMLS 21st Century Museum Professionals Program.

LET'S BE SOCIAL — THE CHI WAY!

Visit CHI on Facebook to stay in touch and get the latest news and updates. Don't forget to like us, comment on what's going on, and add us to your Facebook world too! Use the buttons at the top of this e-newsletter to like, retweet, or share our news with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In. Go to the CHI blog for some spectacular new postings by Marlin Lum and guest bloggers who are using CHI techniques in a variety of amazing projects. Let us know what you think!

Cultural Heritage Imaging is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) company. Donations are tax-deductible.


January 2012

Dear CHI Friends,

Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) is accelerating to light speed in the new year with a redesigned web site, new web pages, contributions to new books, a new reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) kit for sale, and much more. Read on to find out what we've been up to.

WELCOME TO THE NEW CHI WEB SITE!

Check out CHI's beautiful new web site at culturalheritageimaging.org! There's lots of interactive content and updates—for an overview of what's new, read CHI Director Carla Schroer's blog entry announcing the new and improved site features. In addition to the links to great new content in Carla's blog, don't miss the new rock art page—a perfect example of how the redesigned site leads you to all subject-relevant content.

A CHI WELL-LIGHTED PLACE FOR BOOKS

Visit CHI's new Publications page for links and other updates. Here are a few highlights:

Companions To Rock Art. August 2012 is the publication date for the latest title in Wiley-Blackwell's Companions to Anthropology Series, A Companion to Rock Art. The CHI team and their collaborators contributed a chapter to the section, “Rock Art As Digital Heritage: Advances in Photo Enhancement Technology and Digital Archiving.” The chapter is called “Robust, Scientifically Reliable Rock Art Documentation From Digital Photographs.”

Visualization In Research. CHI President Mark Mudge is contributing a chapter to a February 2012 book from Ashgate, Paradata and Transparency For Virtual Heritage. Mark's chapter is “Transparency For Empirical Data.” This new title is part of the Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities series.

DIY RTI—TRAINING AND FIELD KITS NOW AVAILABLE

Get Into Training. CHI's training sessions are growing in popularity—the latest one sold out, but there's still time to get into the next one in San Francisco on April 24-27, 2012. Visit CHI's Training page for details about the types of classes offered and some of the distinguished alumni from around the world who are CHI graduates!

Get Into the Field, Lab or Workshop. Kick-start your digital cultural heritage projects with CHI's new RTI Highlight Capture Starter Kit. The CHI team has assembled everything you need to create your own interactive RTI media—just add a basic camera, tripod, and some accessories and you are good to go! Learn how to use the kit at one of CHI's training sessions, or download helpful documentation and media from CHI's Do It Yourself resource page. Let us know how your project goes—connect to us via social media and keep us in the loop!

BE PART OF CHI's SOCIAL NETWORK

Visit CHI on Facebook to stay in touch and get the latest news and updates. Don't forget to like us, comment on what's going on, and add us to your Facebook world, too! We hope you'll like, retweet, or share our news with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Cultural Heritage Imaging is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) company. Donations are tax-deductible.



2011 E-newsletters

Autumn 2011

Dear CHI Friends,

Summer 2011 has been a period of great change and accomplishments for Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI). In a single year, we have completed half of the training for our two-and-one-half year federally funded museum professionals program.

Institutions and individuals we have trained are moving along with their reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) projects and have begun posting the results on the web, including the Worcester Art Museum, the Smithsonian, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

CHI welcomes a great new collaborator and is saying good-bye to another supporter whose efforts we really appreciated and built on. Please read on for updates and links to our latest news.

IMLS-Funded RTI Training 50 Percent Complete

In September, the CHI team trained art conservation professionals at Queens University, Ontario, Canada, in RTI techniques. Researchers there had already been experimenting with RTI on reverse glass paintings as documented in this CHI blog entry. The Queens training is the fifth program undertaken for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)'s “21st Century Museum Professionals Program.” The IMLS grant funds RTI training for all North American graduate programs in conservation, as well as several regional training sessions open to museum professionals.

Earlier in the year, CHI trained the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center—in addition to CHI's photo blog posting and Flickr gallery about the four-day event, NYU has posted a great article describing the experience. Additional training programs occurred at the Harvard Art Museums Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the Worcester Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). SFMOMA added workshop photos to Facebook.

RTI in Action

Seeing Red. The Worcester Art Museum jumped right into the classics after acing CHI's RTI training back in 2008, and is using the advanced imaging techniques to study surface details on a Greek Attic red-figure vase in their collection. Read about what they found in their CHI blog entry.

The Fine Arts Museums of SF also used RTI for some high-end imaging of a red-figure object and posted a blog entry about the amazing results.

Main Squeeze. The Smithsonian Institution's Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) also put their 2009 CHI RTI training to good use and made RTI images of 400 ancient “squeezes”—wet paper pulp pressed into ancient inscriptions, such as those found on stone walls in the Near East. The squeezes make mirror image impressions of the writing that can be taken away from where the inscriptions reside and studied. Read more about the Squeeze Imaging Project and CHI's RTI contribution, which has been implemented by the MCI's Imaging Studio.

Farewell and Bonjour

Best Wishes. CHI bids a fond adieu to Dr. Elizabeth Peña, our hard-working former Executive Director. Elizabeth has accepted a position as Interim Director of Museum Studies at John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA. Goodbye, good luck, and thank you Dr. Peña—CHI could not have made our IMLS-funded RTI training project happen without you!

A Big Hello! Corey Toler-Franklin, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale collaborating with CHI on the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Collaborative Algorithmic Rendering Engine (CARE) Project. Corey will contribute details for the “digital lab notebook,” or process history aspects of this project. To learn more about Corey, visit www.coreytoler.com.

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Cultural Heritage Imaging is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) company. Donations are tax-deductible.


April 2011

Dear CHI Friends,

Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) is focused on making reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) training available to everyone. We've recently conducted RTI training sessions for conservation staff at two renowned institutions in New York City. Applications are available now for museum professionals wishing to receive RTI training sponsored by a new federal grant program. CHI also plans to offer additional training opportunities this summer.

CHI Training in the Big Apple

Metropolitan Museum of Art conservators learned RTI techniques recently, as described in a CHI blog entry about the four-day experience. Later this spring, students at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center also participated in a four-day RTI training program funded by CHI's grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). See the students and the CHI team in action in this photo blog posting and Flickr gallery.

Apply For Free RTI Training

CHI is accepting applications now from museum professionals who would like to take the tranining program that staff at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and NYU students recently used to learn about RTI and how it can help their work. Visit the “Imaging Technology Pathways for Museum Professionals” (IMLS) project page to learn more about this “21st Century Museum Professionals Program,” which is funded by the IMLS. Review CHI's grant application page to download an application and find out where the RTI training will take place.

More RTI Training June 7–10

Check CHI's Training page for more info on the next RTI training in San Francisco. Apply now for this exciting four-day program which offers engaging lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on sessions where small groups work together on RTI projects.

Get Involved With CHI On Facebook

Visit CHI on Facebook to stay in touch and get the latest news and updates. Don't forget to like us, comment on what's going on, and add us to your Facebook world too!

Cultural Heritage Imaging is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) company. Donations are tax-deductible.


February 2011

Dear CHI Friends,

The Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) team is already making the most of 2011! We've released a great new FREE technology tool, trained museum staff at one of the world's most prestigious institutions, appeared in leading cultural heritage publications, and taken steps to share our knowledge at upcoming conferences and events.

FREE Viewer Available For Download

CHI is proud to announce the first public release of our new reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) viewer! Work on this viewer has been funded in part by a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The new RTIViewer was created by the incredibly talented team at the Visual Computing Laboratory of the Italian National Research Council's (CNR) Institute for Information Science and Technology (ISTI). CHI President Mark Mudge co-authored a paper about the new viewer with ISTI and CNR staff for the Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH). Visit JOCCH to learn more about the paper, “Dynamic Shading Enhancement for RTI.”

Download RTIViewer 1.0.2 for Windows or Macintosh operating systems from CHI's RTIViewer page. On the same page, you can download a RTIViewer User Guide and sample files of ancient rock art and papyrus artifacts to use with the viewer. Please try it out and let us know what you think—we welcome your comments and support.

CHI Featured in New Online Archaeology Magazine

Check out a great article, “Cultural Heritage Imaging: Digital Pioneers in Archaeological Preservation,” in Electrum Magazine, a new online publication about archaeology and “why the past matters.” The Electrum article is a thorough overview of CHI's RTI research, starting with the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project in Switzerland and continuing right up to the present with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco using RTI to study Japanese woodblock prints in new ways.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Learns RTI With CHI

The CHI team recently traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to train conservators in RTI techniques by creating images of objects from the museum collections. CHI Executive Director Elizabeth Peña and CHI Imaging Director Marlin Lum posted a blog entry about the training experience that covers in lively detail what takes place during a four-day CHI RTI training session.

Reaching Out To New Audiences

CHI co-founders Mark Mudge and Carla Schroer embark on a journey that starts with the place where they met and concludes with top-flight presentations in the UK: