Gloss, color and topography scanning for reproducing a painting’s appearance using 3D printing

Willemijn Elkhuizen, Tessa Essers, Yu Song, Jo Geraedts, Clemens Weijkamp, Joris Dik, Sylvia Pont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
162 Downloads (Pure)


High fidelity reproductions of paintings provide new opportunities to museums in preserving and providing access to cultural heritage. This paper presents an integrated system which is able to capture and fabricate color, topography and gloss of a painting, of which gloss capturing forms the most important contribution. A 3D imaging system, utilizing stereo imaging combined with fringe projection, is extended to capture spatially-varying gloss, based on the effect of specular reflectance polarization. The gloss is measured by sampling the specular reflection around Brewster’s angle, where these reflections are effectively polarized, and can be separated from the unpolarized, diffuse reflectance. Off-center gloss measurements are calibrated relative to the center measurement. Off-specular gloss measurements, following from local variation of the surface
normal, are masked based on the height map and corrected. Shadowed regions, caused by the 3D relief, are treated similarly. The area of a single capture is approximately 180x90mm at a resolution of 25x25μm. Aligned color, height, and gloss tiles are stitched together off-line, registering overlapping color regions. The resulting color, height and gloss maps are inputs for the poly-jet 3D printer. Two paintings were reproduced to verify the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed system. One painting was scanned four times, consecutively rotated by 90 degrees, to evaluate the influence of the scanning system geometric configuration on the gloss measurement. Experimental results show that the method is sufficiently fast for practical application, i.e. to scan a whole painting within eight hours, during closing hours of a museum. The results can well be
used for the purpose of physical reproduction and other applications needing first-order estimates of the appearance (e.g. conservation diagnostics and condition reports). Our method to extend appearance scanning with gloss measurements is a valuable addition in the quest for realistic reproductions, in terms of its practical applicability - number of images needed for reconstruction and speed - and its perceptual added value, when added to color and topography reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages22
JournalJournal on Computing and Cultural Heritage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • 3D printing
  • 3D scanning
  • Gloss
  • Material appearance
  • Paintings
  • Reflectance polarization


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