Canon develops new ‘material appearance’ image-processing technology enabling the physical properties of objects to come to life in print

LONDON, 15th September 2015 – Canon Europe, world-leader in imaging solutions, announced today that its parent company, Canon Inc., has developed material appearance image-processing technology, enabling an object’s three-dimensional surface characteristics to be reproduced in print using information captured on digital cameras.

Material appearance properties are those that determine an object’s look and feel, such as gloss, plasticity, surface contours and transparency – qualities that can change in appearance depending on the orientation of lighting or the angle from which an object is viewed.

The new technology uses multiple Canon digital cameras to capture images of a target object, such as historic oil paintings, and digitise the material appearance information. This information is then used to reproduce the visual qualities of that object through such means as UV-curable* printing technology. In the instance of historic art reproductions in particular, this technology could also allow viewers to experience a new appreciation of art by feeling the reproduced work while the original pieces remain preserved in optimal storage conditions.

Drawing on Canon’s imaging expertise from input to output, material appearance image-processing technology makes possible not only the high-definition representation of colour characteristics, but also the reproduction in print of material textural appearances such as metal and cloth.

In addition to the high-resolution photo printing technologies developed to date, Canon will further strengthen the development of this innovation with the aim of expanding it into further application areas such as wallpaper and other interior-decor materials as well as advertising signage and product packaging.

* An inkjet printing technology using UV-curable inks which instantly dry and adhere to surfaces when exposed to ultraviolet light. UV-curable inks have a hard finish and are highly resistant to water and direct sunlight.

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