Imaging Lab Floorplan

Imaging Lab Floorplan

Project Room 1: RTI/Scientific Imaging

“Digital imaging systems can be designed as measurement systems. Measurement systems can collect data that allow scholars to answer additional questions about artifacts that cannot be answered by means of simple visual inspection. These questions include, ’What materials were used to form the artifact?’ and ‘What sequence of changes were made in the artifact?’.”
-- Prof. Holly Rushmeier

Newer imaging techniques for conservation documentation provide replicable image-based analyses of cultural heritage objects. The YDC2 Imaging Lab introduces 3D imaging, reflectance transformation imaging, and multi-spectral imaging as new tools to document and analyze Yale’s collections.

The QSI 683WS full-frame 8.3 megapixel CCD provides the largest sensor available in a scientific camera utilizing 1.25” color filters. Dual read rates of up to 8 MHz with high-speed USB 2.0 and full 16-bit output allow this camera to produce high quality images with high frame rates, extremely wide dynamic range, excellent linearity and exceptionally low noise.

Multispectral imaging can be applied to paintings and manuscripts to reveal information undetectable in visible-range photography. It is a non-invasive technique that collects both spectral and spatial information.

Project Room 2: 2D Photography

High quality, colorimetrically accurate images of Yale’s collections have contributed significantly the documentation and study of cultural and natural heritage at the University and beyond.  Yale University’s open access policy ensures that the general public has unencumbered access to digital representations of the University’s treasures.

Project Room 3: Hasselblad H4D-200MS Camera and Vacuum Copy Stand

The copy-stand system consists of Broncolor strobe lights, the Hasselblad H4D-200MS camera, the Tarsia Technical Industries frame and column with a vacuum platform to gently flatten curled works without needing to place objects or glass on top of the work that might obscure the view or reduce the image quality. If the vacuum cannot be used, magnetic frames hold objects in place.

The Hasselblad H4D-200MS camera allows for rapid imaging of objects and can produce up to a 200 Mega-pixel image. The resulting 1.2GB TIFF files are excellent for large-scale reproduction as well as detailed study.

This system is ideal for works on paper and can record objects from as small as 3” up to 5 feet. While watercolors, drawings, and maps are the most obvious candidates for this setup, the copystand can be utilized for a variety of objects that are best shot lying flat. The system has some flexibly and it is possible to use it for such challenging projects as photographing long scrolls in sections (which can be stitched together to produce a very large file), as well as 3-dimensional miniatures, and with the addition of a simple light box, this set up can be used to rapidly “scan” slides and color transparencies with an extraordinary level of detail and quality.

Project Room 4: Large Object Color Proofing

To ensure consistent and correct color when assessing original artwork and material against its digital image, specialized viewing lights have been installed throughout the Imaging Lab that provide artificial daylight conditions.   

For color-proofing large objects, this GTI light was selected and installed because it delivers even, long lasting, and dependable lighting, specifically engineered for proofing purposes.  

The light is positioned 82” off the floor and 15” off the wall so that when a painting is placed on top of the cabinet, it will ensure the consistent and correct color of the original artwork when compared to the digital image.

Project Room 5: 3D/Scientific Imaging

Both the NextEngine 2020i and the ShapeGrabber PRM330 are devices that are capable of generating three-dimensional (3D) digital scans as their output and rendering of precise numerical representations of the surface topography of objects.

A number of views from different angles of a given object are typically scanned, with the resulting scans digitially “stitched” together in software to form a complete 3D representation.

Both of these scanners are portable and well suited to scanning small to medium-sized objects (several centimeters to a meter or more).  The NextEngine is often set up on a horizontal surface with candidate objects being brought to it for scanning; in contrast, the ShapeGrabber is often mounted on a tripod, and brought to a candidate object that is otherwise immobile and/or has parts or areas that are difficult to reach.

These scanners will be used to capture 3D representations of a broad range of items, including natural history specimens (e.g., vertebrate skeletal elements, fossil invertebrates, rocks and minerals, etc.) and art and ethnographic artifacts (e.g., statues, figurines, containers, etc.).  

The 3D scans offer powerful rotational visualizations and mathematical comparisons, provide non-invasive methods for measurement and analysis (e.g., surface areas, volumes), and allow for reassembly of entire items from components (e.g., rebuild a ceramic pot from dozens of its separate shards), among other novel possibilities.  This 3D capability greatly expands upon the traditional and well-established 2D scanning technologies currently in use throughout the campus.

Studio 1: Infinity Wall
The cyclorama, also known as a cove or infinity wall, provides a background incorporating curved surfaces to create a back drop for a photographic image that has no perceptible beginning or end. In still photography, the advantage of having a cove is that it makes a background virtually disappear, which leaves the photographer with a multitude of possibilities for lighting, giving the object center stage.   The cyclorama dimensions are 12’ long x 20’wide x 19’ high.

Studio 1 was designed to allow for larger 3D objects to be placed on set without the need for seamless paper to be rolled out. The primary advantage of this studio is that objects can be placed onto the floor and shot from multiple angles without having to move the objects. Instead, the photographers can move their cameras around as needed. For large heavy objects, or objects comprised of multiple parts this saves time and reduces the risk of damage to objects.

If higher angles are needed, or a wider view is warranted, the partition wall between Studios 1 and 2 can be opened to increase the studio size or to photograph from the catwalk toward the cove.

Studio 2: Catwalk and Easel

The Catwalk allows photographers to shoot objects from above. This will be most applicable with large flat works such as textiles, but at times 2D works are well suited to this setup if hanging the object on a wall or placing it on an easel is not possible. Additionally the catwalk can be used to photograph 3D objects from a higher angle in either studio if multiple views of an object are needed.

The catwalk is approximately 38’ long, 4’6”wide and is 15’ from the floor.

The Easel was designed by Yale photographers and custom-built to allow photography of framed artwork as well other rigid materials such as stretched canvasses and works on wood panels. It is designed to accommodate a wide range of sizes up to 19’ and capable of safely supporting works weighing up to 300lbs (135kg). It allows high quality reproduction and high throughput and creates a level of consistency across reproductions. Compared to other methods, such as a traditional tilted easel, it is easier to ensure that the object and camera are parallel and allows for quicker installation than physically mounting each work of art on the wall.  

To provide maximum flexibility, the walls on either side of the easel have plywood backing to allow for traditional wall mounting without the need for wall anchors, when wall hanging is required.  It is designed to be flexible so that it can be used with any light or any camera system including high-resolution cameras for reproduction or scientific cameras that record infrared or ultraviolet for research.

Studio 3: Robotic Page Scanners

The APT BookScan 2400RA robotic book scanners developed by Kirtas Technologies are used to digitize books, ledgers, and other bound documents.  The machines are equipped with robotic page-turners that can be operated in an automatic or manual capacity -- depending on length and fragility of the material.

The major components of the scanner consist of a mechanically adjusted cradle, two digital cameras, and three on-board computers.  The first two computers collectively control the functions of the scanner and cameras, while the third computer is a large server that stores all the images and post-production software.

The adjustable book cradles allow for items to be digitized in a much safer manner than with a flatbed scanner or a photocopier.  In addition, much time is saved by the overall speed in producing images. Long-term benefits include the digital preservation of otherwise fragile items and the availability of images for researchers and others unable to travel to Yale to view its vast collections.

RTI: Reflectance Transformation Imaging

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is a computational photographic method that captures a subject’s surface shape and color and enables the interactive re-lighting of the subject from any direction. RTI also permits the mathematical enhancement of the subject’s surface shape and color attributes.  

RTI images are created from information derived from multiple digital photographs of an object shot from a stationary camera position. In each photograph, light is projected from a different known, or knowable, direction. This process produces a series of images of the same subject with varying highlights and shadows. Lighting information from the images is mathematically synthesized to generate a mathematical model of the surface, enabling a user to re-light the RTI image interactively and examine its surface on a screen.

This custom-made RTI Lighting Domeprovides a standardized, repeatable, and expeditious way to create an RTI image, removing the need for specialized training and aiding in and increasing the throughput of this station.