3-D printing has set itself up to be one of the most exciting new developments of modern technology. Soon we could be printing cars, replacement body parts, food and now, as it turns out, even van Gogh masterpieces!
Tim Zaman, a Dutch researcher at Delft University of Technology, has constructed a photographic scanning system that can accurately scan the surface of a painting and then print it. See, you can’t really get a feel for a Rembrant merely by looking at a flat picture of one because so much detail and intricacy is missing without the texture of the artist’s brushstrokes and the physicality of the dried paint. Zaman’s device scans paintings to an accuracy of 50 microns and prints them out at 600 ppi, letting you enjoy some of the world’s most celebrated artwork exactly how it was meant to be seen. “Paintings are not unlike sculptures, paint as a material has a huge impact on the way a painting looks,” Zaman said. “By illuminating a painting with light, it automatically gives highlights and shadows that form the way we see it.”
The scanning system uses two cameras and a fringe projection to scan the painting’s surface and make an exact 3-D replica of the original, which includes each of its nuances of color, textures and brushstrokes.
In fact, some extreme close-ups of classic paintings have revealed angles which have never been seen before, even in iconic images like van Gogh‘s sunflowers.
So what’s stopping crooks from using this technology to knock off famous works of art?
While the accuracy could easily fool the average observer into thinking the 3-D print is an original, you can see, however, minor differences through further examination. Zaman said, “We noticed that things like glossiness and transparency that are in each painting are very distinguishing in the original, and we are not yet able to reproduce.”
It looks like it’s only a matter of time until we can start printing our favorite paintings and tricking our friends into thinking we’re real collectors!
via Web Urbanist