Advanced processing of height data in depth map format

Instead of mountains, valleys, and rivers, at Factum we document subtle imperfections, brush marks, or the textural features of an object.

Our high-resolution 3D digital recordings are often limited by the processing capabilities of the applications or browsers being used to display them and the computer hardware on which they run. In order to abate this issue but maintain minute details and variations in an objects’ elevation we use “depth maps” to store the data we capture from our recording techniques.

Digitally speaking, a “depth map” is a 2D image representation generated or measured from a 3D scan of an object. Unlike greyscale images, they encode the depth or distance information for each pixel rather than just intensity values. They are usually used to visualise the 3D structure of an object and each pixel corresponds to the distance from the camera to the surface. While Shape from Shading (SfS) techniques common to greyscale maps, can provide depth estimation indirectly from greyscale images, depth maps themselves are used for more certain 3D data visualisations.

The surfaces scanned by Factum’s technologies (Lucida and Selene) are stored as high-resolution greyscale images, where each shade of grey corresponds to a particular height on the scanned surface. This focus on height/ depth through greyscale enables the object’s three-dimensionality to be represented and stored in a accurate two-dimensional image.