Banding? Is it Real?

Can anyone explain how the image* on Colin Berry’s blog can begin to convince us that banding is not really all that real. Maybe you can understand what Colin is saying. Something about “bilateral symmetry.” If anything, it helps to convince me that there really is banding there. You really need to see it in its full size in Colin’s blog space so CLICK HERE.

Barrie Schwortz did some of the earliest technical work to show one optical illusion effect of the banding. (Use Google translation after obtaining the linked-to page in order to see it in English). It is well worth reading.

The left image shows vertical banding on the outside portion of each cheek that extends upward and downward well above and below the face, particularly so on the right side. The middle image shows the area Barrie chose to add +20 points (Photoshop calibration) of RGB luminance. The effect is immediately obvious in the right picture.


The banding is particularly obvious when shown with transmitted light. 


One day I received an email from Robert Doumax, an imaging expert in Bordeaux, France. He had created a Fourier transform filter to isolate both vertical and horizontal banding in the fabric of the shroud. His filter produced the bottom image of three below.

Subtracting one image from the other image produces a tentative, partial banding map:

* About the colorful ImageJ image.  It has not been copied, stored or reproduced in anyway. The thumbnail preview is like a window into Colin’s site. It is an inline link to Colin’s blog space. By clicking on the image you can see it in its full size on Colin’s site. Even so, the use of a thumb nail image is considered fair use. Wikipedia is a good place to being reading about this.

[A] pointer causes a user’s browser to jump to the proprietor’s server and fetch the image file to the user’s computer. US courts have considered this a decisive fact in copyright analysis. Thus, in Perfect 10, Inc. v., Inc.,[6] the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit explained why inline linking did not violate US copyright law . . .

The thumb nail is too small to be a copyright concern. It is merely a graphical link.

53 thoughts on “Banding? Is it Real?”

  1. You’ve already answered Dan. This is just another obvious illustration of CB’s bad habit to distort/select/ignore facts.

  2. Can you provide a Top Five list of CB’s Distorted/Ignored/Select Facts? If you are going to make a claim like this you need to back it up with ‘facts’ yourself. Otherwise you are guilty of one CB claim – that you are a troll.

  3. I think the bottom line here is that the Shroud face has a rectangular quality that is rarely if ever seen in ancient or medieval portraits of Christ. Both cheeks are delineated by paler vertical stripes, neatly symmetrical on either side, with darker vertical stripes of hair outside them. Byzantine and other portraits show a more triangular or oval face, with the hair moulded to it. The question is, how important is this observation?

    To some, the overall shape of the face and the blocks of hair are the most obvious and recognisable features of the face on the Shroud, with the implication that if they do not appear on purported copies, then their identity can be denied. To others, an apparent ‘congruence’ of a number of minor features is more important, and suffiicent to establish identity, regardless of the shape of the face and hair.

    (To me, a man with a bushy moustache and beard, the droopy tapering spindles of moustache found on Byzantine portraits is quite sufficient to discredit them entirely. It is interesting how different people have different perceptions of what is significant and what less so.)

    To a few, the vertical stripes must be ‘explained away,’ as if would be copiers, recognising that the vertical stripes were artifacts of the cloth, permitted themselves to ignore the rectangular shape of the Shroud face and to draw a more conventional tapering jaw of their own without compromising the identity.

    So what are the pale vertical stripes separating cheeks from hair? Are they obstructions placed on either side of the face which prevented image formartion? Or could they be made of threads which were either paler than the others to start with, or prepared in such a way that they were less susceptible to the image-making process, whatever it was? And how can that be demonstrated?

    One way of establishing the existence of ‘banding’ is by examining Barrie Schwortz’s transmitted light photos, which conveniently eliminate the image completely. These are indeed clearly vertically and horizontally striped in light and dark stripes of varying width and intensity, although these variations are probably more closely related to the thickness of individual threads than their actual colour. The transverse ones clearly stretch right across the cloth, and the longitudinal ones can be traced for at least a metre or so. This cannot be seen on the Shroud itself at all. The apparent banding across the mid-part of face (hair-gap-cheek-gap-nose-gap-cheek-gap-hair, or dark-light-dark-light-dark-light-dark-light-dark) is not extended upwards or downwards. We should not be surprised at this, as there is no reason why the thickness of the threads (transmitted light banding) should be related to their colour (reflected light banding). There is the added consideration that the transmitted light was coming through the backing cloth as well, which must have added to the effect.

    I do not know how Robert Doumax achieved his effect. There must, I think, be a fair amount of subjectivity to it (just as in Schwortz’s abitrary patch lightening above), and would not able to consider its accuracy without applying it to other parts of the shroud, not just the face.

    Finally, as I have said before, one might predict that the irregular processing of the raw thread could lead to visible banding on a cloth, but in that case there would be irregular banding patterns longitudinally, as the warp threads would be made from separate individual hanks, and broad regular bands transversely, as each weft single hank was used up going backwards and forwards across the loom. This is not what we observe.

  4. “Finally, as I have said before, one might predict that the irregular processing of the raw thread could lead to visible banding on a cloth, but in that case there would be irregular banding patterns longitudinally, as the warp threads would be made from separate individual hanks, and broad regular bands transversely, as each weft single hank was used up going backwards and forwards across the loom. This is not what we observe.”

    This is what I observe :

    Who cares about your predictions where the image should be? Can’t you see that the image is mostly on the warp threads?

    You can put this one on Hugh’s list David.

  5. A little intemperate, if I may say so.

    I can’t say I understand what you’ve done in your pictures above. How did you obtain your “après filtrage” image? What filter did you apply? What does it tell us about banding?

    And what provoked the “Who cares about your predictions where the image should be?” outburst? I think everybody knows where the image should be, and I did not mention it in my previous comment. As the image side of the shroud consists of 75% warp and 25% weft, it is obvious that the image is mostly on warp threads. So what? What has this to do with banding?

    1. That may be, but can you point it out a lttle more clearly? I can’t see that your images help.
      Incidentally, at we can see both sides of the Shroud, one which is 75% warp and one which is 75% weft. If there was prominent regular banding of the weft threads it should be more visible on the latter image, but sadly the quality of the reproduction and the process of merging the separate images to produce the composite do not make it possible to observe it.

  6. “That may be, but can you point it out a lttle more clearly?”

    Less clear on the face because this is precisely where image is the more intense, and it happens it is mostly on warp threads, but this post focused on the face.

    1. Forgive me but I’m still not clear what you’re trying to say. This is a transmitted light photo, which shows no image at all, on the face or anywhere else. As the light is coming through from behind, all the light and dark variation is caused by the thickness of the cloth at any point, which includes the backing cloth. There is no distinction in such a photo between the visiblity of the warp and weft threads. There is virtally no evidence of transverse bands (as opposed to individual threads) on the left hand side (where the ventral upper body image is), but several quite distinct ones on the right (where the ventral feet image is). The most prominent are two dark bands at the level of the hands. One of the lamps illuminating the cloth is immediately behind the image of the forehead, and shows two thin dark longitudinal stripes which can be traced to the middle of the cloth and possibly on down towards the feet.

      Three other interesting observations may be made of this photo. As so many of the stripes, both longitudinal and transverse, can be clearly seen from one side of the cloth to the other, we have prima facie evidence firstly that any repairs, invisible or otherwise, even in the area of the radiocarbon sample, do not constitute a significant proportion of the cloth. Secondly, the fact that the transverse stripes are so continuous even across the seam of the side-strip suggests to me, as it has to others, that the seam is not a joining of two pieces but a tuck in a single sheet; and thirdly, the darkness of the shroud compared to the lightness of the patches (almost the same colour in normal light) shows how dense and heavy the shroud weave is.

  7. “As the light is coming through from behind, all the light and dark variation is caused by the thickness of the cloth at any point, which includes the backing cloth.”

    Another point on Hugh’s list David, reflected light doesn’t depend much on the thickness of the cloth… I thought it was obvious, transmitted light only underlines this pattern.

    Back to the “avant filtrage” image (reflected light), there is a horizontal pattern, though vertical pattern is much clearer (image is on warp threads).

      1. He has clearly mentionned the backing cloth as a confusion factor, i’ve answered banding depends on the shroud.

        But maybe you can enlighten me about Hugh’s vagaries? Do you understand his point more clearly?

        1. Well this posting began with confusion over Colin’s article, perhaps it’s appropriate it all ends in a morass. Let’s try to get back on solid ground by discussing just one point. Hugh did suggest that the backing cloth would affect what we see in the transmitted light photo – thus affecting the banding effect. This seems logical, to me, is there a good reason why the backing cloth is not relevant at all?

        2. “Well this posting began with confusion over Colin’s article,”

          Correction, David: The confusion was over my PIRATED article, posted just yesterday, the confusion being expressed by the site owner over my term “bilateral symmetry”. That’s despite my use of it several times before, here and on my own site. (Thank you Hugh for showing that at least one person knew what was being referred to).

          One can see faces in clouds that are almost certainly figments of the imagination. It’s when they are square on, showing bilateral symmetry (like two eyes, two ears, both at the same level) that one needs to recall probability theory. A sharp cut-off at one side of the TS face could be due to banding. When you see two, at both sides of the face, almost symmetrical about a vertical midline, you need to recall probability theory.

          When it comes to banding – beware, There’s a lot of agenda-driven pseudo-science being pushed for all its worth, as I said nearly two years ago. It’s not difficult to spot desperate breach-filling pseudo-science, the word count alone often being the giveaway.

      2. “This seems logical, to me, is there a good reason why the backing cloth is not relevant at all?”

        Reflected light image.

        1. Using my powers of ESP I am going to extrapolate an actual answer from this three word cryptogram. Anoxie is saying that the reflected light image of the Shroud is more important than the transmitted light image re: banding conclusions.

  8. I’ve completely lost track now. anoxie’s responses don’t seem to relate to the comments they refer to at all. Perhaps it’s a translation thing. If anybody else thinks they understand him better I’d be grateful for their help. Or if it’s understanding my comments that’s the trouble, do please clarify them for him.

    1. “As the light is coming through from behind, all the light and dark variation is caused by the thickness of the cloth at any point, which includes the backing cloth. ”

      Answer : no.

      Translation problem ?

  9. Excuse my need for a general refresher here. The banding is important because, if it exists, it is problematic for the scorch theory because there is no way an artisan could have achieved this effect, therefore it must point to some other image formation process. Is this the gist of why banding matters?

    Colin’s investigation points to another possible cause for the banding effect — it not being banding at all. Anoxie is countering that the banding is obviously there. Hugh is not ruling out banding, but is not as convinced as Anoxie as to it’s “obvious” existence.

    Fair summation?

  10. Let’s be basic. David, at the thread level, the linen take the image differently. This is what you can see on the image “avant filtrage”.

    Name it banding, or whatever, this is just an observation, but apparently Colin and Hugh disagree.

        1. A good clarification of your side of the issue. I don’t really ‘buy’ one assumption though — that the face is too rectangular, too Gothic. If anything the face looks swollen to me, which is exactly what I’d expect of a death mask. I saw my share of corpses as the son of an undertaker, and the man on the Shroud sure looks like one. We are not dealing with a painting, we all agree on that. We are dealing with a yet to be confirmed image process. Because we do not know how it works, we cannot rule out any image distortion caused from that process.

          Your research is in an effort to prove that a medieval scorch theory cannot be ruled out. You’ve made some strides there. On the other hand, nothing you have discovered, to me, has ruled out a 1st century origin. I believe you’ve acknowledged this as well, pointing out that a scorch (in the broader sense of the term) theory might support a 1st century origin.

          Question: a bit off topic perhaps. Can sound waves create latent images on surfaces other than liquid ones? The banding (lines) on the TS remind me of sound ripples in some pics. Too sci-fi perhaps, but could an ultra-sonic pulse have created a reaction on the linen forming an image? A Big Bang mistaken for an earthquake perhaps? Sorry, the creative writer in me is bleeding onto the page at this point.

  11. It’s not that I disagree with anoxie, it’s just that I have no idea what his point of view actually is. I may agree heartily – I just don’t know.

    I have, however, spent some time studying the alleged banding on iPad’s Shroiud 2.0. It is really most instructive. Take, for example, what appears in the Enrie negatives as a thin white stripe running vertically down the face, from the drop at the end of the epsilon bloodstain, through the eye, cutting off a chunk of moustache and just missing the lip. (A good place to see it in closeup is at We might suppose that it is a single dark warp thread, running more or less the length of the Shroud. In Shroud 2.0, however, we see what it really is, namely a small group of three or four warp threads which have become bunched together during the weaving process, producing a tiny ridge of threads longitudinally down the Shroud (and a tiny trough the other side) which in turn casts an anomalous shadow. In other words, the bright distinctive stripe on the Enrie negative is simply an artifact of the weave, and not, in fact, a dark stripe at all.

    An inch or so further out is the sharp division between light and dark that appears responsible for the vertical cut off of the cheek, and forms one side of the area that Barrie Schwortz photoshopped upwards to remove the apparent ‘band.’ In Shroud 2.0 we can see that this line is the spine of one of the ‘herringbones’ and that these spines are often anomalies in the regular smoothness of the shroud, and although they appear as white stripes on the Enrie negative, they are artifacts of the light. In fact, the more we try to pin down what, precisely, makes the dark bands appear so, the more we find that the borders between the bands correspond with the herringbone ‘spines,’ and the more we wonder if the angle of the light wasn’t responsible rather more than any real discolouration.

    And, yes, sound waves can create ripples in all sorts of things, including fabrics, and no, nothing at all like the markings on the Shroud!

    1. Banding? Real?

      “In fact, the more we try to pin down what, precisely, makes the dark bands appear so, the more we find that the borders between the bands correspond with the herringbone ‘spines”

      This is what i call : banding.

      This the kind of limit/artefact CB doesn’t want to hear about.

  12. HF: “In other words, the bright distinctive stripe on the Enrie negative is simply an artifact of the weave, and not, in fact, a dark stripe at all.”

    Query to anyone: The weave is a zigzag herringbone twill. Does anyone know if the alleged banding synchronises with the pitch of the zigzag, or not? Or is it independent of the pitch?

    1. 1- it’s a sharp, clear-cut edge

      2- the dark band on the face starts on a spike

      3- the zig zag pattern has an independent role on image perception (image – différence)

      Synchronisation ? Let’s have a break on banding and the “no sharp edge” claim of CB.

    2. In Shroud 2.0, longitudinal banding is very clear, and is definitely related to the pitch of the zigzag, specifically the darkness of the shadows cast by the overlying warp threads onto the underlying weft threads. Thus the entire Shroud is covered in alternating lighter and darker bands. This pattern is not seen on the Durante photo. Here the various longitudinal stripes seem to me to be much thinner, where you can see them, and appear to be related to the ‘spines’ of the herringbone ribs, which may have formed into slight ridges or troughs as part of the rolling up process. I cannot find a good positive Enrie image, but the large scale negatives, which can be found at the link above among others, show a variety of bands, some very thin and some as thick as a width of a pitch. However they are much less consistent and the thick ones do not appear to be lighting artifacts as they sometimes extend over two or three bands of alternating pitch. It is not clear in any case that the pale vertical areas defning the sides of the cheeks, or the dark vertical areas defing the fall of the hair, are due to imperfections in the weave or the lighting of a photo rather than the shape of the image model itself. As such, attempts to ‘correct’ the image by removing them are probably misguided.

      1. Brilliant. Hugh. Possibly, nay probably the best contribution to ‘banding’ in all time.

        Re my new toy (Thermal LUT in ImageJ), I have been playing around with the “min” slider control. I now believe it to be a powerful aid to TS image analysis, having figured what it’s doing using model 2D shade diagrams with no 3D history. It basically drills down bit by bit from the high points on a 3D rendering lopping off the peak value progressively as it goes, probing deeper and deeper into the lower levels of the relief. The ability to do this in degrees, comparing the TS with model at each stage, makes it, in my opinion, a valid and powerful research tool in image analysis.

        I’ll post my model validation study today or tomorrow, and will then take a break for a while, leaving this vexatious site (but for you and David Goulet) for yet another cooling off period.

        1. I like using the other slider, which slowly drowns the relief in rising floodwater, so that, by flooding the background, all you can see are the islands caused by the image (and the burns and wrinkles, of course). That works best using the ‘Original Colours’ option rather than the bright LUT ones. (What does LUT stand for?)
          However I think we have to be careful about eliminating bands using ImageJ. Even at its coarsest (Try a Grid Size of 32 and and no Smoothing), when one might expect the result to be a series of square based towers, the programme produces pyramids, whose slope seems to depend on the surrounding pixels. The Mesh option shows this particularly well. Smoothing makes things look more ‘realistic,’ but gradually eliminates both high points and hollows, so that it becomes easy to say that the vertical cheek bands do not exist.

        2. I tried the other (max) slider this morning, and felt everything was just being too quickly melted (or flooded) away. Nevertheless, I shall keep experimenting. For now, my money’s on the min control.

          LUT means “Look Up Table”. Whether that is the same or subtly different from a menu I have absolutely no idea.

          One could spend a lifetime systematically exploring all the menu options on ImageJ. Having said that the suck-it-and-see approach works better for me than trying to make sense of the impenetrable jargon that appears on “Help” menus.

          My MO with the important smoothing control is to drop it to values where the image becomes spiky (3D-pixellation) and then increase it bit by bit to the point where the hedgehog suddenly becomes a nude. That seems valid based on comparisons I did a while ago between bas-relief metal templates and their 3D-rendered thermal imprints. It’s what I called “normalization”. OK too recommends that one uses minimal smoothing. I guess one could say it effects a switch from digital to virtual-analogue, so has to be used with care.

  13. Is there a sharp cut-off in intensity along CB’s yellow line on the left of the fac, from hair to chest?

    CB has used imageJ and claimed:
    “Straightaway one can see that the sharp cut-off at the sides of the face, aka excessive and unrealistic ‘linearity’, disappears almost completely.”

    My answer was: look at high definition raw pictures and you can see a sharp cutt-off.

    Anyone can see it, and i think Hugh has finally (hardly?) admitted it when he has noted that the dark band starts on a spike.

    This zig-zag pattern is underlined by the difference image (middle one), and has a role on the image intensity (left one).

    Claiming that looking at imageJ, which actually smoothes the image -largely discussed here-, you can’t see this cut-off, is simply absurd!

    But maybe this spoonfeeding will trigger another version in CB far fetched theories.

      1. PS: One can only suppose that troll anoxie thinks (a) that the TS face above with my yellow demarcation lines from MS Paint used ImageJ. (It didn’t of course. It’s merely Shroud Scope with added contrast).

        (b) That my claim for loss of the image-cut off was based on that same picture. (It wasn’t – it was based on the colour-coded 3D-rendered image obtained with ImageJ in Thermal mode).

        Incidentally, I’m not the first to have reported that 3D-rendering largely abolishes the cut-off effect. See this quotation from Petrus Soons (my italics)

        “The following photograph shows the difference once we applied the technique that Barrie indicated. On the left is a photograph of material we used to produce the first Master hologram and it is clear that there are very dark imageless areas in the banding. The photos 2 and 4 show the face with the corrections. Also another method was used in the conversion of 2D to 3D and that resulted also in much more detail. Photo 3 is the gray-scale information of the photos 2 and 4. The face is now much more “natural” and detailed.

        1. Full quote:
          “Straightaway one can see that the sharp cut-off at the sides of the face, aka excessive and unrealistic ‘linearity’, disappears almost completely. With it must surely disappear any idea that the cut-offs had anything to do with banding”

          The cut-off has much to do with banding.

          Banding is clearly seen on a raw picture.

          And guess what? the sharp cut-off disappears when you smooth it!

        2. I guess you still have to work hard on it before answering to my comment.

          Don’t worry, i’m patient.

  14. HF has made what seems to be a brilliant observation (see Aug 28, 3:42 am). Would love to see some pictures of just what he is looking at. Is that possible? This may be a whole new paradigm for banding.

    1. Looking at the cheek area (my right), I’m seeing thin “demarcation” lines that look like they might be rubbed in dirt where the herringbone shift takes place but that those lines may not be boundaries of the wider banding. We could have a lot of I think I see going on here.

    2. Sure, i’m a troll, and Hugh is brilliant.

      Now, read my comment just above his “brilliant” comment (Aug 28, 1:14 am).

      I’m pointing since the very beginning of this thread to this regular pattern based on warp threads and the herringbone pattern, i’ve provided the link to the difference image underlining this pattern, and i had just mentionned the role of this pattern on image density…

      Now tell what is the “new paradigm” for banding not related to this herringbone pattern and the overwhelming role of warp threads on the face ?

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