2005: Easy and cost-effective cuneiform digitizing

Geert Willems-Frank Verbiest-Wim Moreau-Hendrik Hameeuw-Karel Van Lerberghe-Luc Van Gool 2005_Easy and cost-effective cuneiform digitizing_VAST05

Modern researchers in the field of ancient Mesopotamian studies read their primary sources, cuneiform tablets, either manually, by moving lights around the tablet to maximize readability, or by studying photographs (or drawn copies) when the actual tablet is not at hand. Although the latter method only holds partial information, and is therefore less desirable, it is often the only available resource due to the inaccessibility of tablet collections. Recently, several digitizing projects have been proposed to provide accurate 2D+ and 3D models of these tablets for digital preservation. However, these methods require manual interaction or are not available to many research groups due to their cost. Furthermore, the digitizing device should be quickly deployable on-site, have an easy calibration procedure and should not have any moving parts which could be problematic in difficult circumstances. We therefore present a new fully automated cuneiform tablet digitizing solution that is relatively inexpensive and easily field-deployable. The solution consists of a small, light-weight dome of light sources and a digital camera. 2D+ representations of the tablets are created by use of photometric stereo. The obtained information allows for photorealistic virtual re-lighting and non-photorealistic rendering of the tab lets in real-time through the use of programmable graphics hardware.
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