Google’s Cultural Institute, the company’s initiative to preserve the world’s culture and history by bringing it online, has this morning unveiled a new project aimed at allowing web users the ability to view art up close – down to the very brushstrokes. Google had invented a new camera it’s dubbing the “Art Camera,” which is a custom-built, robotic camera capable of capturing gigapixel images quickly.

This camera is steered by a robotic system across the painting in question, taking hundreds or even thousands of high-resolution close-ups. To focus precisely, it uses both a laser and sonar system. The latter uses high-frequency sound to measure the distance of the artwork to better position itself. Yes, the camera hears like a bat does, Google points out.

Of course, capturing these images is only one feat – they then have to be assembled coherently. Google’s software is capable of stitching the images together to create a single image, it says.These images are being shared online, so people can get as close to experiencing the art as possible, apart from viewing it in real life.

Many of the details found in paintings, after all, are those that you only see when you view the art in person by walking up to the canvas. There, you can see things like the way Impressionists combine dabs and dashes of paint to form an image that becomes clearer as you step back, or uncover hidden items like a hidden signature….

Source: Google unveils a gigapixel ‘Art Camera’ that lets you view paintings down to the brushstrokes | TechCrunch

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