News Release

September 8, 2015
Canon Inc.

Canon develops material appearance image-processing technology that digitizes material appearance information qualities such as gloss and three-dimensional surface characteristics to enable printing reproduction

TOKYO, September 8, 2015—Canon Inc. announced today that it has developed material appearance image-processing technology that, through the acquisition of material appearance information using digital cameras, enables printing that faithfully recreates such material appearance characteristics as gloss, plasticity and transparency, qualities that change in appearance depending on the orientation of lighting or the angle from which an object is viewed.

Print samples created using material appearance image-processing technology

Material appearance characteristics are those qualities that determine an object's look and feel, such as gloss, plasticity, surface contours and transparency. The acquisition of this information, such as surface contours and reflectance, in addition to color data, is essential for reproducing an object's texture in photographs and other forms of printout.

Canon's newly developed material appearance image-processing technology makes use of multiple Canon digital cameras, which are used to capture images of the target object, facilitating the digitization of such material appearance information as subtle surface contours and gloss. The digitized material appearance information is then used to faithfully reproduce the material appearance properties of the original object using a (UV-curable*) printing technology that is optimally controlled in accordance with its print characteristics.

Capitalizing on Canon's expertise in image input and output devices, material appearance image-processing technology makes possible not only the high-definition representation of color characteristics, but also the printing of various material appearance qualities, such as those of metal, cloth and other materials. Additionally, as the technology is capable of faithfully recreating the material appearance characteristics of the original target object, it can be used to reproduce historically significant oil paintings and other valuable cultural properties. The creation of such reproductions could allow viewers to experience new ways of art appreciation by feeling the reproduced artwork, while enabling the original artwork to be preserved under optimal storage conditions.

In addition to the high-resolution photo printing technologies the Company has cultivated to date, Canon will further strengthen the development of this technology with the aim of expanding its application in such areas as wallpaper and other interior-use materials, advertising signage and product packaging.

  • *An inkjet printing technology that uses UV-curable inks, which instantly dry and adhere to surfaces when exposed to ultraviolet light. UV-curable inks have a hard finish and are highly resistant to water and direct sunlight.