Colin Berry is up with an interesting posting about 3D enhancement

By St. Louis, will it confusing to talk about 3D in conjunction with the shroud?

imageColin writes in his blog:

The Turin Shroud image is famously 3D-enhancible, given the right software. Initially it was shown with the so-called VP8 image analyser that was allegedly space-age technology, and not surprisingly led to much over-hyped speculation that the TS image was different from any other.

This  blogger pricked that particular balloon some 2 years ago, pointing out that the 3D- enhanced images not only brought the man’s image up out of the page, but the 1532 scorch marks as well. (Wikipedia credits me with making that finding, but I’ll try not to let it go to my head).

There’s more talk right now about what the modern day equivalent to VP-8 (freely downloadable ImageJ software) does or does not do to the TS image that is meaningful. In other words, what are the ‘correct’ settings that gives a valid image?

imageWe need to distinguish between 3D plotting and 3D enhancement. Colin took a cartoonish picture meant to be a depiction of sorts of Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Why, well read that in his blog. He then executed a rather simple 3D Surface Plot using the original colors to plot with. In other words he merely gave the picture some shape based on the relative luminance or brightness of every x/y coordinate in the picture.  That is 3D enhancement. I made a reasonably good imitation of it. It is the second picture and it looks almost as if I stole it from his blog.

But that isn’t really isn’t a legitimate plot. You need to use a monochrome color, not the original colors and not the grayscale (of those colors). There are two imageways to do this. First you can use the two monochrome colors the tool provides, blue and orange. Or you can load a simple flat color background as texture. I used a solid green background image. As you can see, the plotting yields very unnatural elevations.

imageFinally, you can use on of the Color Look Up Tables such as the Thermal LUT. O.K. has made this point in comments elsewhere. These can be very telling as the example on the left shows.

“[W]hat are the ‘correct’ settings that gives a valid image?”, asks Colin. I don’t know. But unless we sort this out there is going to be a lot of confusion.

15 thoughts on “Colin Berry is up with an interesting posting about 3D enhancement”

  1. “This is the danger of working alone, refusing to read anything that goes against one’s own presuppositions, and refusing to allow dialogue.” Writing non sense, moonwalking. You can sleep well.

  2. This is a travesty of my posting, omitting all the testing of ImageJ against simple shade charts, evenly graduated or otherwise, and instead focusing purely on the light-hearted finale re Jacques de Molay. Your prognostications as to what is correct v incorrect procedure strike me as pure mumbo jumbo, but I could be wrong, being merely a suck-it-and-see empirical scientist who is generally content to investigate and report findings, offering interpretations, not set-in-concrete dogma.

    Thanks for reminding me Dan Porter why I refuse to engage with your site on a regular basis (except to flag up the more egregious errors).

    1. Hey Colin, I’m advertising your stuff. Smart people will read it. You made an extraordinarily good point when you wrote,”[W]hat are the ‘correct’ settings that gives a valid image?”,

      There is no dogma here. I’m the first to admit having reservations about the 3D and what it means. Oh, the flags are cute.

      1. Your comment has a very different tone from your posting, Dan. The two could have been written by two entirely different people.

        Not being into head-banging, I’ll simply copy-and-paste something I composed a few minutes ago, and then move on (having a new post in mind that addresses an entirely different, more pressing issue, namely Barry Schwortz’s response to the charge that he has attempted to consign Walter McCrone’s studies to limbo (it being arguably more carefully-crafted “them-and-us” spiel, all so plausible, but totally contrary to the spirit of science).

        Here’s what I was going to say by way of final word re my posting, at least on this site:

        “The proposition being tested was not that an image that was 3D enhancible initially had encoded 3D information that responded to the software. The proposition being tested was that an image that was 3D enhancible did not necessarily have encoded 3D information.

        My proposition, the second of those two, is easily testable by taking an image that has no initial 3D character, e.g. a shade chart, a flag or artist’s 2D portrait and showing it is 3D-enhancible. My proposition is a scientific one, by virtue of its testability.

        The first proposition might conceivable be true, but I can think of no easy way of testing it. As such it is unlikely to be a scientific proposition, and given the context is quite clearly agenda-driven, with no consideration or concern as to whether it’s scientific or not. It’s purely apologetics of the kind: “prove that my proposition is wrong”.

        Sorry. Life’s too short to go proving other people’s propositions are wrong if not scientifically framed such as to be testable in principle. I confine myself to testable propositions. I can say with confidence , based on the colour charts, flags etc, that 3D-enhancible images do not necessarily have encoded 3D information.”

  3. Given that hair, lips, eyes and so on have different colours from the rest of the face, it is not very surprising that the 3D image above isn’t very good. It’s not even a full face model. What is surprising is that any full-face, evenly lit black and white portrait produces a 3D image that is at least as good as, and often better than the shroud, in spite of all its colour differences not related to a possible intensity/distance gradient. Any artist who set out to create such an image could do, and have done, a great deal better, and a great deal better than the Shroud – Emily Craig being the obvious example.

    If sanyone has got ImageJ to play with, try the photo at

  4. Colin, I don’t see the problem. I agree with you. You had an interesting post. I said that. I’ll say it again. You said, “I can say with confidence , based on the colour charts, flags etc, that 3D-enhancible images do not necessarily have encoded 3D information.”

    That’s right. I agree. Everyone should read what you wrote.

    I don’t know what the right setting are. I don’t know how we evaluate what we have. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the wording “isn’t a legitimate plot.” Maybe something go lost in the trunk or the boot.

    We can, if we want, try to merely imitate a VP8. Or we can see if there is much more we can do regardless of agenda’s. Yes, spotting pseudoscience is an agenda. Maybe 3D characteristics will prove to have been a mistaken idea. Or maybe it will prove to be more significant than we ever thought.

    1. Yes Dan. But anyone reading your post is led to believe that I took an artist’s portrayal of a particular individual, and entered it into ImageJ without a thought for systematic study, like converting to monochrome etc. I’ve been portrayed yet again on your site as a hopeless amateur and am frankly bored with your attempts to undermine my scientific credibility in this fashion.

      OK, so I’m a blogger and home-based experimentalist now, not a full time scientist, as was Ray Rogers incidentally. But I went to some trouble to flag up the kind of systematic study of ImageJ inputs v outputs that were possible with model shade charts, posting a sequence of pictures in which I rang the changes on a number of experimental variables. You omitted to mention those, the meat of the blog.

      Sorry, Dan, but I neither want nor need your selective and coloured synopses of what I post. Please give me and my blogs a miss in future. It’s what folk think in 10 years time that is my chief concern, not 60 minutes after posting from someone who’s clearly concerned primarily with partisan point-scoring.

      I’m only interested in the science, the result of David Rolfe and others claiming that the Shroud image defies scientific explanation.

      No it doesn’t. The problem, now as ever, is the morass of shoddy or bent science adduced in support of authenticity.

        1. Any talk of olive branches would be inappropriate until the main bone of contention is addressed, namely the hoovering-up of other people’s content to report here as instant potted summaries that time and again fail to accurately report the gist of one’s new findings and conclusions, and which all too often introduce a negative spin to whet or sate the appetites of the pro-authenticity tendency.

          My posting was NOT about systematic study of portraiture but of much simpler model systems – shade charts etc – with a hint as to how complexity and unpredictability arises where there are competing image density gradients that create conflict within the computational matrices employed.

          This and other points made here (re gray scale etc) will be addressed during the day as a postscript to my posting. I have made a start already.

  5. Colin, you were strutting and you tripped. Keep calm and carry on as you Brits say.

  6. So depending on what Dr. Joseph Accetta will have to say, it may mean that Jacques de Molay had his image printed on the Shroud?! And Gutenberg and Caxton kept quiet about it…..

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