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Subject: Ticker tape

Ticker tape

From: Arlen Heginbotham <aheginbotham>
Date: Thursday, January 9, 2003
John Castronovo <jcc [at] nac__net> writes

>I have in my possession a faded strip of ticker tape. The owner
>would like me to reveal the writing on it so that it can be
>reproduced. Infrared photography up to 800nm reveals nothing. Any
>suggestions?

Another option is to use digital image-enhancement to bring out the
image.  This would typically be done by making high resolution color
digital images of the tape (either by direct scanning, scanning a
negative or transparency, or by direct digital photography) and
manipulating the image in Adobe Photoshop to bring out the obscure
image.  Though, at first blush, this may sound simplistic and
unlikely to accomplish very much, I have seen this technique achieve
things I would never have thought possible.  For instance, I have
seen barely detectable chalk inscriptions on wood revealed which IR
and UV had failed to enhance.

Some details of the techniques involved were presented by Michael
Smith of the Getty Museum's Media Services Department at the 2002
Wooden Artifacts Group session of the AIC Annual Meeting.  They will
be published in the forthcoming postprints of the session.

For those with some Photoshop experience, most of the work is done
using selected channels (RGB or CMYK) and the primary tools used are
Curves, Hue/Saturation, Selective Color, and Channel Mixer.  The
higher the resolution of the original image, the better the results
will be.  The experience of the Photoshop operator will have some
effect on the speed and quality of the results, but I think it may
well give you what you are looking for.

Arlen Heginbotham
Assistant Conservator
Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation Department
J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1687
310-440-7178
Fax: 310-440-7745


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:42
                 Distributed: Friday, January 10, 2003
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Received on Thursday, 9 January, 2003

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