google art camera

By now, most of us have seen photographs of tons of famous paintings, so we feel like we have “experienced” them. But, experiencing a painting up close reveals so many incredible details like textures and brush strokes that don’t translate from a typical photograph, especially if you’re the average tourist and you can’t get close to it. Over the past few years, Google has been working on an Art Camera project that uses robotics and specialized gigapixel software to document famous works of art with painstaking attention to the small details.

The system works a lot like a traditional robotic gigapixel camera in that it moves across an area taking high-res photos, which can then be stitched together later using software. The result is a massive image file that can be experienced via the web. You can zoom in to a rather insane level and see details that you might miss, even if you’re standing directly in front of the real painting.

google gigapixel art camera for scanning paintings
This is a little more than halfway zoomed in on a painting and you can already see the fine detail of the brush marks in the paint Google Cultural Institute

You can currently see a pretty excellent selection of paintings on the Cultural Institute site. Even if you’re not typically that interested in paintings, it can be a really awesome time suck.

The project intends to keep running, with several different cameras operating at museums around the world. This seems like a really great way to keep close records of the paintings as they age, especially considering how old some of them are.

From: The Verge