RIT Wins Mellon Foundation Grant to Further Art Imaging

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter RIT art-imaging system to measure optical properties, reducing a work of art to its spectral fingerprint.

Rochester Institute of Technology has received an $874,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop and build an imaging system that will be the first of its kind to document and reproduce artwork that matches the original under any light source.

The four-year grant will further the research of RIT color scientist Roy Berns and his colleagues at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Bernsí team is creating the next generation of imaging technology that will change how museums around the world reproduce and archive artwork. The total project is in excess of $2 million.

"The Mellon grant affords us the opportunity to develop a new imaging paradigm for museums, archives and libraries rather than focusing on engineering," says Berns, the Richard S. Hunter Professor of Color Science, Appearance and Technology in RITís Munsell Color Science Laboratory in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. "The expanded scope includes theoretical research, implementation, knowledge dissemination and a limited testbed."

Bernsí research will introduce new techniques, better accuracy and give museums a cost-effective and practical way to create their own spectral archives. His art-imaging system will measure the optical properties of materials, thereby reducing a work of art to its essential spectral data.

Berns envisions an affordable, practical imaging system that will include image capture, archival storage, Web capabilities and large-format multi-ink printing based on spectral information. His imaging system will combine off-the-shelf hardware with highly sophisticated software, some patent pending.

The majority of Bernsí research will occur at RIT with periodic visits to the National Gallery of Art and The Museum of Modern Art to test the new imaging system. In the later phase of the project, the RIT team will create spectral-based digital imaging facilities at both museums and at RIT.

Bernsí RIT team includes color scientists Francisco Imai and Lawrence Taplin, and color science and imaging science graduate students.

For more information about Bernsí research, visit www.cis.rit.edu/people/faculty/berns/research.html.

The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, part of the College of Science at Rochester Institute of Technology, offers B.S. and M.S. degrees in imaging science and color science, and the nationís only Ph.D. in imaging science. The research and teaching laboratories at the center, established in 1985, are dedicated to electronic imaging, digital image processing, remote sensing, medical imaging, color science, optics and chemical imaging.

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