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The application of 2.5D and 3D technologies for the conservation and presentation of surface texture in paintings

Aure Calvet, Xavier


Xavier Aure Calvet


This thesis investigates the use and potential applications of emerging 2.5D and 3D
digital technologies applied to the study, conservation and presentation of the surface
texture of paintings concentrating particularly on issues and applications relevant to the
National Gallery in London and its collection.
The first part of the thesis reviews both 3D and 2.5D methods that have been used to
record the surface of cultural heritage objects with particular attention to paintings. The
advantages and limitations of using some of these methods is demonstrated on several
paintings from the National Gallery and several mock-up paintings prepared specifically
to demonstrate their effectiveness against challenging surfaces.
The second part of the study proposes a practical workflow to generate photorealistic
high-resolution 3D models of paintings. A combination of various imaging methods,
software and computer graphics techniques is used to produce highly detailed 3D models
that are computationally efficient for online visualisation and real-time interaction. The
workflow is demonstrated through a range of case studies with different optical surface
qualities and geometric features.
The third part investigates the possibility of transferring the high-resolution detail
encoded in normal maps to a high polygon mesh that can be used to translate the digital
model into a physical reproduction by using a computer numerical control milling
Based on the understanding of the conservation needs when dealing with complex
restoration treatments, the last section of this research investigates the potential
production of custom-made foam supports for paintings that may require cushioning and
protection during conservation treatment.
This thesis aims to provide practical and user-friendly workflows based on available
software and simple hardware setups. This work provides tools and practical solutions
to guide the user towards specialist applications that extend standard documentation
with 2.5D and 3D recording methods. The different methodologies proposed complement
each other and together extend the applications of captured surface texture initially
recorded during the documentation stage.


Aure Calvet, X. The application of 2.5D and 3D technologies for the conservation and presentation of surface texture in paintings. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2019
Public URL
Additional Information Corporate Creators : The National Gallery London


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