2.5D and 3D image capture and print in the cultural heritage field

2.5D and 3D image capture and print in the cultural heritage field - evaluation of current and developing technologies, potential applications and practical workflows

A fully-funded PhD studentship in partnership with the University of the West of England.

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership

Starting in October 2014 as part of the AHRC’s new Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme, the award provides an opportunity to undertake high quality research combined with an exceptional opportunity to gain practical work experience within one of the world’s foremost art galleries - leading to a PhD with one of the UK’s leading universities.

Research project

Whilst there is much interest and debate surrounding 3D reproduction there has been no comprehensive research that surveys the field. This project aims to address the gap between traditional analogue skills and knowledge in the newly emerging digital 2.5D and 3D technology field. The student will explore the potential for innovative and creative applications in the cultural heritage field, and investigate issues that need to be addressed for them to be fully exploited. The National Gallery has extensive knowledge in developing high resolution colour and infrared digital cameras, incorporating systems that share large generated images over the web and document the surface texture of paintings. Initially this research was undertaken with polynomial texture mapping and more recently with forms of laser scanning.

The student will undertake a survey to assess materials, workflow methods, hardware, software, colour quality, cost and time implications of this technology, or the efficient uses and applications for particular digital scanning and reproduction techniques. The growing accessibility of object scanning systems capable of producing 3D and 2.5D images, along with 2.5D low relief surface and textural printing, as well as complete 3D printing methods, are providing users with a vast array of new tools with great potential in the cultural heritage field, but these have also resulted in a similarly vast number of propriety file formats and data presentation tools.

The PhD student will examine this complex field by: identifying, simplifying and demonstrating how these new tools can be efficiently and appropriately used in the day to day study, documentation and presentation of cultural heritage objects, concentrating particularly on issues and applications relevant to the National Gallery and its collection. This could include, for example, investigating what structural changes occur in paintings over time, how they can be documented, and how conservation treatments can affect these structural changes. The student will determine the relevance of particular hardware and software - as well as establishing cost implications.

About the Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

The National Gallery offers a small number of Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and run in partnership with higher education institutions. These studentships focus on specific themes relevant to the Gallery's collection and wider research themes.