While doing my weekly browsing on the Internet, I came across this fascinating website that talks about digital imaging and computational technology.
This website, Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) takes digital photographs and analyzes them using some state-of-the-art technology so that people can interpret these images more closely and accurately. The part that really intrigued me (being a Physics and Math major) is that most of these imaging techniques were created mathematically.
The first technique CHI refers to is Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), which was created in 2001 by Tom Malzbender. This technique enables digital conservers to study very detailed surfaces on objects by taking multiple photographs of the same object with different lighting angles. “This lighting information is mathematically synthesized to enhance the object’s surface.”
Another technique of digital imaging is Algorithmic Rendering (AR), which uses applied mathematical methods to create an illustration of an object that can have relevant information extracted from it. Additionally, AR can be used to transform an object using analysis tools while being recorded and documented along the way in order to preserve the original image.
The third technique that CHI talks about is Photogrammetry. This technique determines mathematical measurements and 3-D geometry form 2 or more images of an object. These series of pictures, which mimics how our eyes would normally see a 3-D object, can be analyzed to optically correct an image so that it can be view, manipulated, and measured. By overlapping the multiple photographs, Photogrammetry creates 3-D geometry that is perfectly aligned with color information creating pin point accurate images.
All of these techniques can be used to analyze an image; and to keep track of all the transformation that goes on during the process, CHI created the term Digital Lab Notebook. A Digital Lab Notebook “describes the digital process history record of the means and circumstances used to generate a digital representation (digital surrogate) of an empirically captured subject in the physical world.” These lab notebooks can be looked at by current and future digital conservers to help enhance digital imaging.
CHI is directly related to Digital Humanities because it talks about taking images and using technology to create them into something that we can interpret more closely. The same goes for text… if we can enhance the quality of an old text, we are then able to interpret the text from a different perspective. I found this website to be captivating not only because of the mathematics behind the techniques, but also because of the fact that we as a technological society have come so far, that it has changed the way we look at things.