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Troubled by the New Shroud of Turin 3D Web Site

October 10, 2010

The pastor of a large parish in New Orleans wrote to me by email:

I think this new 3D image is the most convincing scientific evidence yet for arguing that the shroud is authentic.”

image I strongly disagree. The pastor is referring to the red-cyan anaglyph image of the Shroud that you can see only with red and cyan 3D glasses. Personally, I feel that this is a work of art, an artist’s impression of what Jesus may have looked like, expressed in 3D. It doesn’t prove anything any more than the animated 3D movie, “Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus”  proves that horses can fly. (Have I changed my mind since my first posting about the site? Yes.)

Here is what the pastor wrote:

The red/cyan anaglyph of the face from the Shroud of Turin at the website shroud3d.com is startling. Regrettably, the size of the image is reduced on the website. Fortunately it is done with HTML so you can grab the bigger sized jpeg and save it on your computer. Do so right away before they reduce the size on the server. Here is the link:

Note: I have replaced the pastor’s long link with a TinyURL. You can see a bigger image (800 by 921 rather than the web page size set to 484 by 545)  just by using the following link. Do save a copy of the image on your computer and buy some inexpensive 3D glasses. Read on:

http://tinyurl.com/245d6h2

It is, of course, pointless to save this image unless you have red/cyan 3D glasses. The shroud3d website does have stereoscopic images for those who have the proper viewing equipment. It also has a short video showing slow and slight rotation of the image. But these are poor substitutions for looking at an anaglyph with 3D glasses. The anaglyph is fantastic. It will knock your socks off.

image I took the bigger image and inserted it into a PowerPoint presentation. It looks great on an eight foot screen. Now all I have to do is buy 3D glasses for an upcoming talk at my church. I found some paper ones for $25.00 per hundred. I also had a poster of the anaglyph jpeg printed at Staples. It works great, too.

I think this new 3D image is the most convincing scientific evidence yet for arguing that the shroud is authentic.

No! The anaglyph may not be very scientific, at all. And that is a major concern because the impression one gets from the website and probably most places this image is displayed is that it is scientific. It may be, but if so, how so.

image I am not at all convinced that the data found in the Shroud’s image supports the anaglyph on the website. I’m not convinced that adjustments that were made to the images (there seem to be many) are scientifically warranted. If this is so, if I am right, then the final product, the anaglyph at shroud3d.com must be thought of only as a work of art. Nothing more!

Red and cyan 3D glasses that I ordered from Amazon.com ($4.70) arrived earlier in the week. I have since examined the anaglyph for hours. I was glad to learn from the pastor — one of this blog’s readers — that the full size image was available and I have studied it imageon a high definition 55 inch monitor. My first reaction was not unlike our friend above. Really, do order some 3D glasses at Amazon and prepare to be amazed.

My second reaction was that there was something wrong.

Bernardo Galmarini, “the 3D expert that produced the conversion from 2D to 3D,” writes on the shroud3d site:

I thought at first, that in this more scientific conversion, the hidden information in the Shroud (3D information in the gray-scale), would be a nuisance or obstacle to produce a human representation of the face, and that I would have to struggle continuously against this. Strangely enough, this hidden scientific information in the Shroud became the key and the basis for this work, reducing my artistic work to only softening the “holes” and deformities (caused surely by the passing of time) and the adapting to what this scientific version commands you to do: filling in and normalizing the “holes” or “dead areas” in the hidden information of the linen. For example: the areas without information in the forehead have been corrected following the surrounding gray-scale with coherent information and with a normal human forehead in mind. This process was helped by the fact, that the central zone of the forehead and the bony structure of the orbits contain very coherent information and that of course was taken as a guideline.

That statement lacks needed clarity. There are certainly holes and deformities. Why is not clear in most cases. It seems completely unjustified to speculate that these are caused by the passing of time. Without knowing how the image was formed, without knowing much about how the shroud was stored or displayed over many centuries, we shouldn’t make such guesses.

bandinginface Exactly what are the holes and deformities? They have not been detailed on the website. The bloodstains certainly are a problem and to make adjustments for these is perhaps warranted. But what about other deformities? How is the problem of banding addressed? Banding, a variegated background pattern to the cloth, perhaps the result of how the thread of the cloth was bleached and having nothing to do with the passing of time, is certainly the single biggest deformity that exists. It gets peculiar treatment in this new 3D work. The left side of the face (our right) has been partially retouched to minimize the effect. The other side of the face is shaped as though there was no banding but the banding remains. Pictured here is an estimate of the banding in the area of the face.

At the bottom of the beard and the lower areas of the hair, darker areas that are not the result of banding are strikingly evident. These relatively dark areas don’t recede towards the background as expected for grayscale plotting. (You can’t see this without 3D glasses. Don’t even try.) What is the rationale for this obviously apparent artistic adjustment? Moreover, hair above the forehead pompadours frontward without grayscale tones to support it. This hair and facial hair treatment seems artistic.

The entire head and shoulders seem to be completely detached from the background. You can, with 3D glasses on, move your own head ever so slightly and see detached movement. (Again, you can’t see this without 3D glasses.) Galmarini speaks of “hidden scientific information,” presumably but not explicitly the grayscale. I can’t find any data in support of this phenomenon. It seems as though an artificial outline has been introduced around the human form. There does not seem to be any such outline on the Shroud. In fact, researchers, over the years, have noted this lack of outline because it is something that an artist, had an artist created the Shroud, would have certainly included. Interestingly, the areas of the lower neck and upper shoulders, though darker than the background, don’t recede into the background and don’t show detached movement. Most amazingly, the lower part of a prominent water stain above the face is now worn in the hair like a miniature yarmulke while the upper part of the stain adorns the background. This, to my way of thinking, strongly suggests the use of false outlines. What other reason can there be other than to enhance the 3D effect? 

The most surprising thing is that the grayscale tones that to the untrained eye look like highlights and shadows, but that in fact become the basis for plotting three-dimensionality, remain in place in the plotted image. If you plot a three-dimensional object from the grayscale density you should have something that looks like a stone statue. Whatever highlights and shadows seem to exist in any resulting computerized virtual-reality image should only be from artificially introduced light placed at a calculated angle and distance in the virtual world. This is what the VP8 Analyzer does and what other software packages such as POV-Ray do. But in the anaglyph in question, it looks as though the original image was stretched like a thin film over the calculated shape. Original highlights, shadows and even herringbone twill patterns are there.

I’m willing to be convinced that I am wrong, that the anaglyph in question is scientific. I would actually like this. If this were so we would have something that is truly amazing. Clarity is needed, however. Specifics are required. I would like to see how much of this conversion to 3D is reproducible in a scientific sense and how much is "only softening the ‘holes’ and deformities."

In order to claim that the 3D images on this site are scientific the steps and procedures must be reproducible by others, at least in theory. Documentation is needed.

  1. We should know the software or algorithm used to plot the image including any variables or settings used.
  2. The terminology “hidden scientific information” should be clarified. It is essential to understand how plotting software uses this data.
  3. Expose higher resolution images for examination if the work was done in higher resolution. While this image may be 800 pixels wide, the resolution is no better than 72 ppi. Ordinary books carry pictures at four times the number of pixels per inch.
  4. We should be able to see, in anaglyph form for comparison, the unadjusted, scientifically plotted part of the project so that we can judge for ourselves just how much of the final product is by way of adjustment.
  5. All adjustments made should be explained and justified.

It bothers me to think that these images will be used, as the pastor suggests, in presentations to show the 3D characteristics of the Shroud. These images are certainly being displayed in churches, in exhibits and on the internet without the qualification that this is art and not science. If that is so, it is most unfortunate.

On the other hand, if these images are truly scientific, then the unexplained screams out to be explained.

Don’t get me wrong. There is 3D data in the Shroud’s images. It is the most important quality for knowing that these are not images formed by reflected light as a painter would envision or a camera would capture a human form. The 3D data is a quality that must be accounted for in any hypothesis attempting to explain how the images were formed, be it miraculously, naturally, by fakery or even as honest art. Indeed, this quality, treated scientifically without various forms of electronic manipulation, sooner or later, may suggest how the images were formed.

  1. Lou G
    October 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm | #1

    Good catch on the outline. These guys either found what no one else was able to find or they created it. What do they say?

  2. anon
    October 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm | #2

    Got to admit that the 3d looks cool. I would be fooled without your blog entry. Thx.

  3. Theologian
    October 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm | #3

    I would like to hear from Dr. Peter Soons. He is, after all, the expert. You are not.

    Theologian

  4. October 11, 2010 at 10:22 am | #4

    The Peter Soons movie (http://vimeo.com/14072737) clearly suggests that an outline was artificially created, perhaps accidentally. The 3D glasses borrowed from a Shrek DVD makes this obvious. Isabel Piczek, Barrie Schwortz and many others from STURP have made it clear that there are no outlines in the shroud’s image but gradual changes in tone instead. Moreover, John Jackson demonstrated that the image quenches at three to four centimeters depth. That is not so in the 3D image.

    If you believe what you see with 3D glasses on, then Isabel, Barrie and John are wrong. I don’t think so. Thank you for alerting us to this problem.

  5. Lou G
    October 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm | #5

    Art? If I make a statue and tell you it is art, it is art, no matter what you think of it. If I tell you it is an ancient pagan god or a Leprechaun turned to stone by an evil spirit or anything other than a work of art, it is no longer art no matter the original intent or how artistic it may seem . It is a fake. The Soons 3D stuff is not art having been sold as science. It seems to not be science. That is regrettable.

  6. Chidambaram Ramesh
    October 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm | #6

    Dr.Petrus Soons has been kind enough to send me a lenticular and 3-D image of the Shroud. My discussions with him through e-mails convince me that the 3-Dimensional image made by him is a photographic creation. Still, I must make a point here. There have been theories that the Shroud image itself formed out a quantum hologram (analogous to what Dr.Johnson described as a Man transparent to the environment)! My ensuing book “The Shroud of Turin: An Imprint of the Soul, Apparition, or Quantum Bio-Hologram” (proposed to be released in a fortnight) proposes that the Shroud image is indeed an imprint of the Quantum Self. It is not a mere theory. A plethora of concrete evidences has been drawn from the ancient alchemical science of palingenesis (that is resuscitating 3-D spectral plants from their ashes) and natural magic (showing house full of snake images in 3-D). The theory is simple but sound: Bio-matters of all organisms, even if consumed to ashes, retain the selfsame form and figure of the parent organism. The science behind such extraordinary quality is quantum holography. Each part of the body molecule or cell may encode information for the whole body .This fact has been successfully proven by various experiments in cloning by reconstructing the whole body from a single cell. These subtle holographic energy fields or patterns are the templates or blueprints for the physical body to guide its growth and development.
    Dr. Benford, (also a Shroud researcher who discovered the French weave patch which misrepresented the Shroud in the C-14 dating results) in her paper, “Empirical Evidence Supporting Macro-Scale Quantum Holography in Non-Local Effects”, attributes the reason to quantum hologram as follows:

    ‘One theory is that the test object contains a complete quantum hologram that can affect optical systems and, under the right conditions produce a holographic-like image. To make a hologram, two optical waves are needed: a reference wave and an object wave. These two waves make a 3D holographic image by creating an interference pattern frozen in space-time. Both waves are spatially and temporally coherent at the moment of creation, then separated. The object wave is directed towards the object and it experiences intensity changes and phase-shifts. Normal 2D photographs record only the intensity changes of the object wave and not the phase-shifts. However, when a reference wave is directed back towards the emitted object wave, an interference pattern is created, that records the phase-shifts of the object wave relating to the reference wave. These phase-shifts are what produce the apparent freezing in space-time of the object’s 3D image.’

    Thus the quantum science will explain the centuries-old mysteries wrapping the Turin Shroud soon.

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