Google’s Art Camera – An Insanely High-resolution Camera That Lets You View Paintings Up Close

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Google has created a new ultra-high resolution camera simply dubbed the ‘Art Camera’ which is designed to preserve iconic paintings in gigapixel images.

The Art Camera captures such high-quality images which give the user the ability to admire the art up close allowing you to see every little detail from individual brush stroke to the hidden signature.

As the company says, “You can only fully appreciate the genius of artists like Monet or Van Gogh when you stand so close to a masterpiece that your nose almost touches it. As you step back from the brush strokes, you wonder how it all comes together.”

A Gigapixel is made up of one billion pixels which allow to bring out every little detail, zooming into such high resolution pictures is like walking up to the real art with a magnifying glass.

Before the Art Camera, it took Google five years to capture around 200 images, creating these images was a complex technical challenge. It required highly expensive and specialized equipment and highly trained professionals in the world capable of doing the job.

The Art Camera on the other hands is a lot easier to operate and is a lot faster. Now it takes only 30 minutes to scan and capture a single Art instead of the one whole day.

Image by PetaPixel

The Camera is steered by a robotic system across the painting, the camera automatically captures every little detail, it takes hundreds and sometimes even thousands of close up shots. The camera uses laser and sonar to get the right focus on each brush stroke. Google points out that the sonar works like a bat and uses high frequency sound to measure the distance between the artwork and the camera.

Once all the shots are captured, the Google’s software needs to put together all the pieces, like a puzzle and stitch them together to get a single image, it says.

The technology is going to help museums around the world to share the artworks which are fragile and sensitive to the humidity while preserving it for the future generations.

Google has shared nearly 1000 of these images online providing access to their shared cultural heritage to anyone around the world. Now you don’t need to travel around the world to experience iconic artworks, now the Art Camera will travel for you.

A small fleet of the Art Cameras have been distributed out for free to art museums across the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, India and elsewhere.

You can already experience the first 1,000 gigapixel images captured by the Art Camera, available at the Google Cultural Institute’s Website— here you will also find famous artworks by Pissarro, Signac, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet.

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