Title:Capturing Large-Scale Artifacts via Reflectance Transformation Imaging with a Drone
Authors:Montana Fowler, James Davis, Angus G. Forbes
Publication:MW2020: MuseWeb 2020

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), also known as Polynomial Texture Mapping, was developed to create textures with self-shadowing. However, it is most widely used by the archeological community to collect information about artifacts' surfaces via specular reflection, the bright highlights created when light reflects off of objects. To capture RTI, several photos are taken of an object with a light placed in different positions, each a consistent radius from the center of the object’s face. Currently, this data is captured either by using a string between the light and the artifact's center to maintain a consistent distance or by placing a dome of lights over the object with each light in a fixed position. However, the current methods for capturing RTI limit the size of artifact archeologists and other cultural heritage researchers can capture. Captures of larger objects need to be completed in smaller subsections, which increases the difficulty and duration of the capture process. In our work, we introduce a new method that makes use of a drone to hold the lights in position, allowing researchers to capture the detailed specular information and inner object shadows of large artifacts.