3D Surface Structures of Ancient Manuscripts

Status: available Supervisor: Simon Brenner

Problem Statement

Naturally, historic manuscripts are valuable sources of information. However, not only the letters and drawings made with ink and pigments hold information, but also the three-dimensional structure of the material itself. Examples of interesting features are ruling lines or textual comments drawn with a hard tool (“hard point ruling”, “dry-point glosses”, see Fig.1-4), traces of manufacturing processes or degradation artefacts. These features are hard to capture with conventional imaging methods, and methods for their automated processing are littel researched.


High-resolution 3D reconstructions of the manuscript surfaces are acquired from a set of raking-light images (Photometric Stereo, see Fig. 5). Based on these data, algorithms for the detection and extraction of relevant features (such as described above) are developed. The focus of the work can either lie on the optimization of Photometric Stereo reconstruction for Manuscript analysis or on methods for detecting/extracting 3D surface features.


  • Literature Review
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
  • Written Thesis and final presentation
Fig. 1: RGB photograph of a manuscript patch.
Fig. 2: Rendering of a surface model of the same patch.
Fig. 3: Raking light image of a dry-point glosse (mockup).
Fig. 4: Text Visualization using a depth data.
Fig. 5: Photometric stereo acquisition of a manuscript.

If you are interested in one of the topics, write to sbrenner@cvl.tuwien.ac.at