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Faithful, Compact and Complete Digitization of Cultural Heritage using a Full-Spherical Scanner

Tobias Nöll; Johannes Köhler; Gerd Reis; Didier Stricker
In: Proceedings of the Digital Heritage International Congress 2013. Digital Heritage (Digital Heritage-2013), October 28 - November 1, Marseille, France, Vol. 1, ISBN 978-1-4799-3168-2, IEEE, 10/2013.


Effective documentation and display of ancient objects is an essential task in the field of cultural heritage conservation. Digitization plays an important role for the process of creating, preserving and accessing objects in digital space. Up to the present day, industrial scanners are used for this task that focus mainly on the detailed reconstruction of the object's geometry only. However, important for a faithful digital presentation of the object is in particular the appearance information, i.e. a description of the used materials and how they interact with incident light. Using the worlds first full-spherical scanner, we propose a user friendly reconstruction process that is specifically tailored to the needs for digitizing and representing cultural heritage artifacts. More precisely, our hardware specifically addresses the problem that invaluable or fragile artifacts may not be turned over during acquisition. Nevertheless, we can digitize the object completely including its bottom. Further, by integrating appearance information into our digitization we achieve a far more faithful digital replica with a quality comparable to a real picture of the object. But in contrast to a static picture, our representation allows to interactively change the viewing and lighting directions freely. In addition, the results are very memory efficient, consuming only several MB per scanned object and hence are suited to be accessed and visualized interactively in a web browser. In cooperation with museums and a private collector, we digitized several cultural heritage artifacts in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed process.