Reproducing Texture and FeelReproducing Texture and Feel

Material Appearance Acquisition and Printing Technologies

Canon technologies can reproduce not only the color and shape of objects, but also their surface elevations and gloss.
Utilizing such devices as digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras and printers, we are leveraging our technologies that span from input to output to develop technologies that recreate the feel of objects.

2018/12/27Featured Technology

The material appearance acquisition and printing technologies being developed by Canon enables for the creation of high-resolution reproductions of famous art works such as oil paintings.

One example of Canon’s work is with Vermeer’s masterpiece. Canon’s material appearance acquisition and printing technologies can faithfully reproduce brushstrokes on the canvas, the buildup of paint, the gloss of the finishing varnish and even the cracks in the surface from many years of aging. By displaying these reproductions, people can get up close to works of art and even touch them, rather than viewing them through glass in a gallery.

These material appearance acquisition and printing technologies are not limited to paintings—they can also reproduce the textures of fabrics such as velvet and denim, as well as leather, rattan, gold leaf and many other materials. It is expected that such textures could also be employed in building interiors and exteriors, product packaging and many other areas.


Image processing: A technician calculates elevation and gloss data

[ Material Appearance Acquisition /Image Processing ]

Digitally Capturing Color, Surface Elevation and Gloss Information and Reproducing it with a Printer

#Imaging technologies#Computer science#Physics

Texture is both a visual and tactile element of objects experienced by people. Therefore, in addition to the color and flat appearance of an object, it is essential to digitalize such information as elevation and gloss. Canon’s material appearance acquisition and printing technologies reproduce this textural information through image capture, image processing and printing.

Using High-Resolution Image Capture to Estimate Elevation and Gloss

#Imaging technologies#Computer science#Physics

Canon DSLR cameras capture information on the subject’s color, surface elevation and gloss. The subject is photographed repeatedly while changing the position of the lighting and cameras.

Capturing the images in high resolution is a crucial point. Reproducing texture that is identical to the original requires data of the same resolution as the human eye. To achieve this resolution, 50 megapixel DSLR cameras are used to take repeated close-up images of postcard-sized areas of the original. Processing the images to acquire surface elevation and gloss information at a resolution of tens of micrometers (micrometer [μm] = one millionth of a meter).

When performing the image processing, the object’s elevation and gloss are estimated from the multiple captured images. With regard to elevation, a fixed pattern is projected on the painting and the reflections are analyzed to calculate where surface elevations are located and how high they are. Gloss is determined by identifying and quantifying changes in reflected light occurring as a result of capturing images at different angles. These parameters are saved as gloss data.


Material appearance acquisition: A Canon camera captures images to acquire textural information

[ Printing ]

A UV-Curable Printer that Recreates Detailed Elevation

#Industrial equipment technologies#Imaging technologies#Mechanical engineering#Electrical engineering#Computer science#Physics#Chemistry

To print the image, UV-curable printers developed by Océ, a Canon company, use ultraviolet (UV) light to cure printed ink.

The first step in recreating texture in print is to convert the quantified color, elevation and gloss information to print data. For the colors, technology developed for photo printing is used. RGB (red, green, blue) images captured by the cameras are converted to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) printer colors. The surface elevation is recreated by repeatedly performing ink layering and curing. Finally, the gloss can be recreated in fine detail by taking into consideration the volume, placement and layering of ink to control the ink ejection and in turn the smoothness of the printed surface.


Printing: A UV-curable printer developed by Océ

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