Dutch researcher Tim Zaman is working with Canon’s Océ Group to accurately duplicate famous paintings. Their technique is able to reproduce the texture of the artist’s brush strokes using a process that involves 3D scanning and 3D printing.
Zaman has developed a photographic scanning system that not only captures a high resolution image of the painting but also records 3D information, such as the brush strokes and paint texture. Experts from the Kroller-Muller and Rijksmuseum museums in Holland helped Zaman create a hybrid stereo vision system using 2 cameras with fringe projection (using a projector). This system provides excellent detail and capture speed, with 40 million points per capture, each point with XYZ 3D coordinates and full color.
Famous paintings from Rembrandt and Van Gogh have been scanned using off the shelf cameras from Nikon (D800E) that use Nikon 80mm PC-E lenses and polarization filters. To build up the 3D data for a painting the camera system takes multiple captures, and the Jewish Bride produces more than a billion XYZ/RGB data points.
The 3D data is then 3D printed by Océ (Canon Group) on a 660 ppi resolution printer, which resembles a dye-sublimation printer, and produces a painting that has a convincing texture that looks like a genuine piece.
3D printing is already providing a way for art lovers to get copies of famous sculptures in their own homes and this new process for paintings will give people a chance to get realistic copies of artworks hanging on their walls. And no doubt provide a valuable source of income for the world’s museums.