SPECTRAL ARCHIVES: OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Roy Berns 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Tuesday 19 May 2020
Optical radiation can be readily separated into individual wavelengths. A material’s spectral properties, whether emitted, transmitted, or reflected, is fundamental, defining the material unambiguously. Artwork reproductions having the identical spectral properties to the original art will match the original in color under all illuminating conditions and for all observers. The reproduction’s appearance mimics the original, useful for lighting decisions. The spectral data can be used for authentication, conservation treatments, and as a component of technical examination. Given the availability of spectral imaging systems and the fundamental nature and utility of spectral data, why are image archives of cultural heritage overwhelmingly RGB? Why are studio cameras only RGB? There must be obstacles preventing spectral imaging from entering the studio. What are they? Multi-spectral and hyper-spectral imaging seem exclusive to academics and conservation scientists having imaging expertise. Are there reasons why studio photographers are excluded? These and similar questions are the subject of this presentation, along with a review of the principles and applications of spectral imaging.
Roy S. Berns retired in 2019 from Rochester Institute of Technology’s Munsell Color Science Laboratory and Program of Color Science. During his 36-year career, he developed both MS and PhD programs in color science and established RIT as a leader in artwork spectral imaging, including capture, encoding, and reproduction. Under Berns’s direction, studio-appropriate systems were developed to measure material-properties of paintings and drawings, including spectral reflectance, spatially-varying BRDF, and surface normal maps. He received his BS and MS in textiles from University of California, Davis and a PhD in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Berns has received scientific achievement awards from the Inter-Society Color Council, IS&T, the Colour Group of Great Britain, and the International Association of Colour.