Short courses


Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) Training

  • 24 hours
  • 4 days


This four-day course will train you to be able to set up, capture, process, view, assess and disseminate reflectance transformation images (RTI).

RTI, also known as polynomial texture mapping (PTM), is a high-resolution, non-invasive and non-destructive imaging technique for documenting fine surface details. Unlike conventional photographs, images created using RTI can be virtually relit, with the direction of the light source moved around in real-time to give a 3D appearance to surface shapes.

By attending this course you'll:

  • learn how to apply highlight RTI
  • become proficient in capture, processing and manipulation of RTI datasets for diverse applications
  • become familiar with related computational photography and processing techniques for augmenting and re-using RTI data

You'll also have the opportunity to apply what you've learnt in small teams of 2-3 people.

You'll gain experience in applying RTI to portable objects and larger fixed surfaces of various material types.

Following the course, you'll also be able to have two free hours of consulting services with UCL Advanced Imaging Consultants (UCLAiC).

This course is run by the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, part of the Information Studies department.

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for:

  • museum, library and photographic staff working in conservation and education
  • archaeologists, historians and anyone working with collections who wants to learn about emerging digital imaging techniques
  • anyone interested in RTI technology and its practical application

Entry requirements

To attend this course you should have basic photography and computer skills.

Course content

Subjects the course will cover include:

  • the RTI digital-imaging work flow, from planning to archiving and publication
  • practical information about equipment, image capture setups and software
  • the step-by-step processing of images
  • how to use different viewing modes to examine details of the image

You'll also learn about examples of RTI from different areas of cultural heritage, including museum objects, archaeological sites and artefacts, conservation usage and paper collections.

Teaching and structure

The course is held over four days (Tuesday to Friday, 10.30-5.30pm on the first day, 10-5.30pm on the other days) and involves lectures, demonstrations and practical hands-on sessions. It's led by Dr Kathryn Piquette.

Following the course you'll receive a USB drive with finished RTI examples, data shot during the course, and technical and equipment tips.

You'll also be able to have two free hours of UCLAiC consulting services (valid for one year after the course).

Learning outcomes

Following this course you'll be able to:

  • set up, capture and process RTI images
  • use different viewing modes to examine and assess details of the image
  • disseminate RTI images on the internet

Cost and concessions

The fees are:

  • £1,200 - standard price
  • £1,000 - full-time students, UCL staff and group booking (2 or more people)

Recommended reading

This course is modelled on training provided by domain experts Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI). RTI software and user guides for capture, process and viewing are freely available to download from the CHI website.

Course team

Dr Kathryn Piquette

Dr Kathryn Piquette

Kathryn is a Senior Research Consultant and Digital Imaging Specialist at the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. Her research interests encompass Egyptian archaeology, early writing systems and art of the ancient Near East, as well as digital humanities as it intersects with archaeology. She's particularly interested in the application of digital methods to the study and visualisation of the technological, material and environmental aspects of ancient reading and writing. Among her various publications, she co-edited the volume 'Writing as Material Practice: Substance, Surface and Medium'.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01