One-day Workshop for Cultural Heritage Professionals: Generating Digital Representations of Cultural Heritage Materials

Tuesday 22nd February 2011

Workshop delivered by Cultural Heritage Imaging at the Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton, UK

What you will learn

  • Different types of digital imaging techniques used today in a wide variety of museum, library, and documentary applications worldwide, including Museum/Library conservation and archaeological fieldwork
  • An overview of how to capture and create RTI images
  • Examples of RTI from different areas of cultural heritage and the natural sciences including museum objects, archaeological sites and artifacts, conservation usage, and paper collections
  • Practical information about equipment, image capture setups, and software

Who Should Attend

  • Museum and Library professionals including photographic, conservation, and education staff.
  • Archaeologists, natural scientists, digital preservationists, and anyone who wants to learn about Reflectance Transformation Imaging and emerging digital imaging techniques.

Reflectance Transformation Imaging

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is an example of an emerging family of imaging techniques that can generate scientifically reliable ‘digital surrogates’ of ‘real world’ materials. This family extracts and analyzes the information contained in digital photo sequences. This allows non-computer specialists to build information rich, scientifically reliable digital representations of cultural heritage materials and is a part of the growing field of computational photography.

RTI can generate digital representations that enable interactive relighting and viewing from any angle, the mathematical enhancement of surface features revealing object features that are difficult to discern even under direct physical examination. RTI digital surrogates enable remote scholarly study and public access. The same photo sequences provide the shape and color information that enable the automatic algorithmic rendering of technical drawings from a selection of user configurable signal processing filters. Data acquisition is easy to learn, compatible with existing working cultures, and requires only affordable digital camera equipment. Based on internationally developed, open source and freely available software, RTI provides flexible, cost effective tools and methods for digital capture of a wide range of cultural heritage material. Optional, additionally acquired photo sequences provide the data for automatic camera calibration and 3D measurement.

All of the operations used to capture and create RTIs is saved and organized into a ‘digital lab notebook’. This lab notebook enables others to evaluate the quality and scientific reliability of the digital representation. It also aids future digital conservators in the information’s long-term preservation and future reuse for novel purposes.
The workshop will examine the configuration factors in various contexts that will lead to successful set up and capture of RTI’s and Algorithmic Renderings. Participants will learn through lectures and demonstration. Lectures will present state-of-the-art RTI and related technology including new advances and current research. In addition, the workshop will demonstrate the RTI processing pipeline.

The workshop will demonstrate RTI capture and processing techniques. The workshop will also discuss equipment requirements and options for a range of budgets.


10:00-11:30 Session One – RTI Overview and capture demonstration
11:30-11:45 Break
11:45-13:15 Session Two – Future directions and related technologies
13:15-14:00 Buffet Lunch
14:00-15:30 Session Three – Processing an RTI – software demonstration
15:30-15:45 Break
15:45 – 17:15 Session Four – More practical matters, solutions for different situations, equipment choices, disseminating results, final Q&A (Note there will be opportunity for Q&A throughout the day)


Mark Mudge is President and co-founder of Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), a public charity and California non-profit corporation, incorporated in 2002. Mark has BA in Philosophy from New College of Florida (1979). He has worked as a professional bronze sculptor and has been involved in photography and 3D imaging for over 20 years. He is a co-inventor, with Tom Malzbender, of the computational photography technique, Highlight Reflectance Transformation Imaging. He has published twelve articles and book chapters related to cultural heritage imaging and serves on several international committees, including The International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) Documentation Committee (CIDOC).

Carla Schroer is co-founder and director of Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI). Carla leads the training programs at CHI, as well as working on field capture projects with Reflectance Transformation Imaging and related computational photography techniques. Carla also directs the software development and testing activities at CHI. She spent 20 years in the commercial software industry, directing a wide range of software development projects including Sun Microsystems’ Java technology, object oriented development tools, and desktop publishing software. In addition, Carla has extensive experience in software licensing and open source projects in both the commercial and non-profit sectors.

Cultural Heritage Imaging is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to driving development and adoption of practical digital imaging and preservation solutions for people passionate about saving humanity’s treasures today, before they are lost.


£75 for the day including refreshments and lunch

To book a place please contact Hembo Pagi at the Archaeological Computing Research Group via

About Hembo Pagi

I came to Southampton in 2006 for my MSc degree and been keeping coming back ever since. I have been working more than a decade in ICT, providing solutions for different commercial IT and archaeological projects. Currently I am working for Portus Limen project and running small company called Archaeovision, which is focussing on cultural heritage documentation.