Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

Xavier Aure

PhD Student

 Xavier joined the CFPR in October 2014 to undertake a full-time PhD funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Awards Scheme in partnership with the National Gallery. His programme of studies will be supervised by Dr Carinna Parraman, Professor Stephen Hoskins and Dr Joe Padfield from the National Gallery.  Whilst there is much interest and debate surrounding 3D reproduction there has been no comprehensive research that surveys the field.

The project, 2.5D and 3D image capture and print in the cultural heritage field - evaluation of current and developing technologies, potential applications and practical workflows, aims to address the gap between traditional analogue skills and knowledge in the newly emerging digital 2.5D and 3D technology field. Xavier will explore the potential for innovative and creative applications in the cultural heritage field, and investigate issues that need to be addressed for them to be fully exploited.

The National Gallery has extensive knowledge in developing high resolution colour and infrared digital cameras, incorporating systems that share large generated images over the web and document the surface texture of paintings. Initially this research was undertaken with polynomial texture mapping and more recently with forms of laser scanning. Xavier will undertake a survey to assess materials, workflow methods, hardware, software, colour quality, cost and time implications of this technology, or the efficient uses and applications for particular digital scanning and reproduction techniques.

The growing accessibility of object scanning systems capable of producing 3D and 2.5D images, along with 2.5D low relief surface and textural printing, as well as complete 3D printing methods, are providing users with a vast array of new tools with great potential in the cultural heritage field, but these have also resulted in a similarly vast number of propriety file formats and data presentation tools.

Xavier will examine this complex field by: identifying, simplifying and demonstrating how these new tools can be efficiently and appropriately used in the day to day study, documentation and presentation of cultural heritage objects, concentrating particularly on issues and applications relevant to the National Gallery and its collection. This could include, for example, investigating what structural changes occur in paintings over time, how they can be documented, and how conservation treatments can affect these structural changes. The project will determine the relevance of particular hardware and software - as well as establishing cost implications.