75885 - Image Processing and Virtual Restoration

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course provides theoretical and practical preparation for the acquisition and digital restoration of images related to manuscripts and historical documents.

At the end of the course the student will learn the principles and methods of digital acquisition and restoration of different kinds of historical documents (palimpsests, manuscripts, maps etc.).

Course contents

The course consists of three parts:

  1. a general overview of the nature of the digital image; raster and vector file structures and their characteristics; the different digital file formats for storage and transmission. It will be also introduced the concept of two-dimensional and three-dimensional virtual restoration and the discussion about the meaning of "virtual restoration" in a national and international perspective.
  2. A second part of the course will focus on the use of digital images in the main cultural heritage research fields: history, art history, archaeology; case studies will be presented about documentation, analysis and digital restoration of manuscripts, printed texts and palimpsests, historical cartography.
  3. A third part of the course will focus on the use of specific software -both proprietary and open source- for documentation, analysis and virtual restoration. Software and procedures of image editing will be specifically illustrated by means of Adobe Photoshop and The Gimp; it will be also illustrated how to obtain three-dimensional models from two-dimensional images using Structure From Motion software applications, like Agisoft Photoscan.


For the first part of the course:

  • R.C. Gonzalez, R.E. Woods, Elaborazione delle immagini digitali 3/Ed., Pearson, 2008. Capp. 1, 2, 6, 8.
  • M. Limoncelli, Il restauro virtuale in archeologia, Carocci, 2012. Capp. 1-6.
  • M. Bianchini, Manuale di rilievo e di documentazione digitale in archeologia, Aracne, 2008. Capp. 7-10.

For the second part of the course:

  • R. Netz et al. (a cura di), The Archimedes Palimpsest, Cambridge University Press, 2011. Part IV – The Digital Palimpsest.
  • G. Poldi, G.C.F. Villa, Dalla conservazione alla storia dell’arte. Riflettografia e analisi non invasive per lo studio dei dipinti, edizioni delle Normale, 2006. Pp. 1-240. Scaricabile al link https://www.academia.edu/1289624/Dalla_conservazione_alla_storia_dellarte._Riflettografia_e_analisi_non_invasive_per_lo_studio_dei_dipinti_with_Giovanni_C.F._Villa_
  • M. Orlandi., La documentazione delle decorazioni musive tramite sistemi informativi: il cantiere scuola di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo., in C. Muscolino (a cura di), Sant'Apollinare Nuovo: un cantiere esemplare, pp. 135-137.
  • M. Orlandi., La documentazione grafica delle superfici musive attraverso l’utilizzo dei Sistemi Informativi, in Muscolino C., Ranaldi A., Tedeschi C., (a cura di) Il Battistero Neoniano: uno sguardo attraverso il restauro, Ravenna.

Further references will be given during the course.

Class attendance is highly recommended; students who cannot follow the course will have to arrange a program with the teacher.

Teaching methods

The teaching method will use lectures to illustrate concepts and case studies; practical exercises and tutorials will take place in the computer lab at Palazzo Corradini to practice the techniques discussed in the first and second part of the course.

Assessment methods

Verification of learning will take place through an oral interview and through the development of a practical project of virtual restoration or virtual analysis through the use of digital techniques of the image that the student must be agreed with the teacher. Through the oral exam will be determined understanding of the basics of digital images and their use in cultural heritage; through the elaborate will be determined the practical ability of the student in dealing with digital images for analysis and virtual restoration.

The evaluation will follow the following criteria:

  • Negative: the student demonstrates weaknesses in basic concepts of matter, in distinguishing the types of digital images and their characteristics. The proposed project presents methodological errors and/or lack of originality.
  • Satisfactory: the student demonstrates to know the basic concepts albeit not always precise; the proposed project is correct but do not present enough originality and has some with methodological and technical inaccuracies.
  • Good: the student has a good preparation of the concepts and their exposure; the project has developed a good application of the methodologies discussed and a discrete structural complexity.
  • Excellent: the student shows he learned and developed in a personal way the theoretical foundations on the nature and applications of digital images. The project has developed methodological consistency, adherence to themes, complexity and full autonomy.

Teaching tools

The educational activities will be supported by laboratory work in the computer lab of Palazzo Corradini; pc and software will be available for practical exercises in support of what is shown in the lectures . The student will have the opportunity to learn how to use techniques and methodologies on case studies. Handouts and articles will be distributed together with powerpoint and reference websites.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Orlandi