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More 3D Discussion

September 27, 2015

The questions Hugh Farey raised yesterday about Ray Downing’s 3D work in a comment to The VP8 Cinderella Question reminded me of a previous posting of mine about Petrus  Soon’s 3D work. I decided to reprint it below. But first read The VP8 Cinderella Question and the comment Hugh made September 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm.

You might also find It is really, really time to rethink what we think about 3D useful before reading the following reposting from 2012.

— Published November 18, 2012 —

I certainly have real reservations about Petrus Soons’ 3D work. Any comments now?

imageimageYesterday afternoon, someone calling himself GonzoII posted a message at the Free Republic message board. It was the Abstract from Petrus Soons’ website that reads:

This website summarizes work connected with digitizing Shroud photographs taken by Giuseppe Enrie in 1931, enhancing the digitized images to improve details, translating the enhanced images “gray scale data into depth data”, generating a sequence of up to 625 images of each of these, and combining these images with a Holoprinter to produce holograms (3D images) of the Shroud. It also summarizes my study of these holograms and discovery of heretofore unseen details, which confirm many previous findings and reveal some suprises.

(Excerpt) Read more at shroud3d.com

Several comments followed; “Gave me chills! I believe!”, gives you the idea.

There is nothing new here. But it is a subject well worth revisiting. Here is what I posted just over two years ago. Not one person commented at the time. Maybe I was just too wordy. Maybe I just said what nobody wanted to hear. Maybe . . . maybe. Any comments now?

(October 10, 2010 posting follows):

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.”

imageI 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 myfirst 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:


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.

imageI 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.

imageI 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.

bandinginfaceExactly 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.

Categories: 3D
  1. Hugh Farey
    September 27, 2015 at 7:22 am

    The 3D effect has grievously suffered from overhype since the moment it was first observed, most of which we must clear away if we are to make anything new out of. The VP-8 was a clever machine for its time, and the thrill of seeing anything even resembling a face emerging from a flat background gave rise to wholly erroneous beliefs regarding the uniqueness, and the accuracy of depiction, of the image on the Shroud. In the cold clear light of 40 years later, we can find any number of images which are as good or better than the Shroud at achieving some sort of 3D emulation, and it is obvious that the repoussé effect looks nothing like an accurately sculpted body.

    There have been several attempts to show that a draped cloth would allow better body-cloth distance / image intensity calculations, but they have all failed dismally in practice (see both attempts in Ray Downing’s video), and an assumption that the Shroud was completely horizontal invariably gives the best results. With the possible exception of Petrus Soon’s images, however, it has always been assumed that the body-cloth distance / image intensity relationship was linear, with a sharp drop off at about 4cm. Perhaps because of the difficulty of calculation, or the fact than none of the commonly used software provides for it, or the fact that such a method is even more difficult to explain using radiation or vaporograph hypotheses, but what has never been explored is the possibility that the relationship may not be linear at all.

    Petrus Soon’s website does not explain how he achieved the depth of field we observe in his images, and one may suspect that it was by art rather than science, but it is possible that he used a non-linear relationship between distance and intensity. If so, that was his true achievement, not any of the pseudo-holographic jiggery-pokery that followed.

    Finally, Dan has it the wrong way round in saying that the 3D effect “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.” By a country mile, the best explanation for the 3D effect as it is seen, and the easiest way of replicating it, is to take a photograph, or paint a picture, using reflected light from the same point as the camera, such as a ring flash, preferably from some distance away, as demonstrated by Isabel Piczek on the top of her ladder, of a model immersed in a coloured liquid so as to attenuate the intensity appropriately.

    Not that I think that was really how it was done, of course!

    • September 27, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Cannot you wait for me? Maybe I have something to say about that?

      51 slides and counting.

  2. Gabriel
    September 27, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Marion wrote in a peer-reviewd journal a paper in which standard, widely used, and easily reproducible methods were employed to detect the presence of letters and symbols. I have never seen anyone challenging his methodology and all the huge criticism he received was based on impressions or prejudices. In other words, nobody has been able to specify what he did wrong that makes his results impossible. I must insist that all he describes in his paper is reproducible and is standard methodology in image processing.
    Now we have someone else that has built a 3D image but has not published a paper and submit his work to the evaluation of peer experts. A lot of criticism again in places like this. But…..both works -one of them published in a peer-reviewed journal- deserve the same degree of criticism? Does this tell us anything about how the scientific challenge that the Shroud represents is being addressed?

    • Hugh Farey
      September 27, 2015 at 8:52 am

      That’s very interesting, Gabriel. Could you provide either a link to their peer-reviewed paper, or its name and the journal in which it is published? Many thanks. I do not think their idea is anything but pareidolia, but perhaps the paper, which I have not read (or even found, to be honest) will persuade me otherwise.

  3. Louis
    September 27, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Dr. Barbara Frale, historian at the Vatican Secret Archives, has also defended the presence of letters on the Shroud both in an interview and in one of her books:
    It is true that this has been challenged by many and a paleographer would have to look at the “original”.
    The problem with Petrus Soons is that there is no description of the methodology.

  4. Louis
    September 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

    A bit off-track but worth reading.
    What happens if the Turin Shroud is dated to the 1st century? Who will be its owner? Pope Francis, the Di Savoia royal family of Italy, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Istanbul (Constantinople), the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Syrian Orthodox, Chaldean, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian patriarchs of Jerusalem…. or the Saint James Vicariate in Jerusalem (Hebrew Speaking Catholics, under the Jewish-born South African Jesuit David Neuhaus) successors of Saint James, first bishop of Jerusalem, and a cousin of Jesus?

    The monks at the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai Egypt, are now saying that Constantin von Tischendorf stole the pages from the Codex Sinaiticus, and many of these pages are scattered in different places. HRH Prince Charles is the President of the Saint Catherine’s Foundation.

    Tischendorff has been called an “adventurer” and “thief”, he had a doctorate in philosophy and was a very good New Testament scholar.

  5. September 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Interesting observations, Dan. I think it’s important to keep in mind that no one should impugn Dr. Soons’ and the others work which have demonstrated the 3D of the image. I like your numbered items and would love to see Dr. Soons and his team produce that information.

    • Louis
      September 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      The Turin Shroud Center of Colorado website has something about cloth-to-body distance.

  6. Matthew L.
    September 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    So confusing and frustrating trying to find the facts about the Turin Shroud…

    Yes or no? (Long answers allowed of course)

    Does the 3D information/data in the shroud confirm there was a real corpse or at least a real 3D object in the shroud? Is the image area darker for parts of the body which would be closer to the cloth (nose, hands, feet etc.) ? And lighter for the parts farther away? (eye sockets, neck etc.) And does this show there was a real body in the shroud?

    • September 27, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Wait for my paper about 3D effect on the Shroud.

      69 slides so far and counting. We have reached banding issues.

      • Matthew L.
        September 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm

        Ok, O.K! Do you have an idea when it will be published? And if I may ask do you have relevant credentials to talk about 3D? (not that it is required or anything)

        • September 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

          When it will be published? When I will finish it -and I don’t know when. Credentials? Let’s say I know and understand what I am writing about (contrary to many guys with “credentials”, if I may be truly).

        • September 27, 2015 at 8:14 pm

          If someone is interested, a lunar eclipse has just begun.

          82 slides and counting…

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