Orestis Kourakis
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Comparision photo between conventional photography and RTI

An innovative way to "see"

I have found that deciphering barely perceptible inscriptions and revealing hidden textures or symbols gives greater significance to the documentation and appreciation of archaeological objects. But how can we view information that is, in fact, invisible to the unaided human eye?

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presentation video of the robotic arm for producing RTI files inside the Acropolis Museum
Reflectance Transformation Imaging

RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) is a new computational photographic method that captures the relief and surface color of an object and enables us to interactively and selectively illuminate the subject from any direction. It also allows for virtual enhancement of an object's relief through carefully developed software.

In this way information is finally brought to light that has not been visible via macroscopic examination of the actual object nor has it been recorded by any other photographic method to date. See the following example:

Comparison photo between the various viewing methods of RTI files 1
Comparison photo between the various viewing methods of RTI files 2

The science behind the magic

RTI files provide an invaluable tool for the research and analyses of written texts, symbols, or numbers whose readability has been compromised. For example, we have been able to read very nearly erased inscriptions, erased representations, and previous layers of writing. At the same time, extremely useful information has emerged that was previously unknown.

After a short training session, which I provide free of charge to all researchers, anyone can comfortably use RTI Viewer software and decipher the meaning of artifacts.

Robotic RTI dome - Acropolis Museum


Robotic RTI dome

My contribution to the RTI's technique is the design and development of a portable, adjustable robotic lighting dome that allows me to produce identical RTI models in any museum or archaeological site from objects of diverse sizes in just minutes.

© Orestis Kourakis. Website created by Point Blank