Google has created the Art Camera, the device was created for the Google Cultural Institute to photograph artworks from museums around to world to archive and preserve them. Google says the camera is so powerful, you can zoom in to see all the brush strokes and dabs of oil paint in a Van Gogh piece, for example.
Google has built over 20 Art Cameras and is shipping them to museums around the world for free, enabling the organizations to digitize their artwork and documents
The team created an indoor-version of the Google Street View 360-degree camera system to capture gallery images by pushing the camera ‘trolley’ through a museum. It also used professional panoramic heads CLAUSS RODEON VR Head HD and CLAUSS VR Head ST to take high resolution photos of the artworks within a gallery. Only this technology allowed to achieve the excellent attention to detail and this highest image resolution. Each partner museum selected one artwork to be captured at ultra-high resolution with approximately 1,000 times more detail than the average digital camera. The largest image, Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov’s The Apparition of Christ to the People, is over 12 gigapixels. To further maximize image quality, the Google team coordinated with partner museums’ lighting technicians and photography teams. For example, at the Tate Britain, the Google team and Tate representatives collaborated to capture the Tate’s gigapixel image No Woman No Cry in both natural light and in the dark. The Tate suggested this method, so that the Art Project could capture the painting’s hidden phosphorescent image, which glows in the dark. The Google camera team had to adapt their method, and keep the camera shutter open for 8 seconds in the dark to capture a distinct enough image. Now, unlike at the Tate, Google Art Project visitors can view the painting in both light settings