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Crack detection in paintings using convolutional neural networks

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The accurate detection of cracks in paintings, which generally portray rich and varying content, is a challenging task. Traditional crack detection methods are often lacking on recent acquisitions of paintings as they are poorly adapted to high-resolutions and do not make use of the other imaging modalities often at hand. Furthermore, many paintings portray a complex or cluttered composition, significantly complicating a precise detection of cracks when using only photographic material. In this paper, we propose a fast crack detection algorithm based on deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) that is capable of combining several imaging modalities, such as regular photographs, infrared photography and X-Ray images. Moreover, we propose an efficient solution to improve the CNN-based localization of the actual crack boundaries and extend the CNN architecture such that areas where it makes little sense to run expensive learning models are ignored. This allows us to process large resolution scans of paintings more efficiently. The proposed on-line method is capable of continuously learning from newly acquired visual data, thus further improving classification results as more data becomes available. A case study on multimodal acquisitions of the Ghent Altarpiece, taken during the currently ongoing conservation-restoration treatment, shows improvements over the state-of-the-art in crack detection methods and demonstrates the potential of our proposed method in assisting art conservators.
ISSN: 2169-3536
Issue: 1
Volume: 8
Pages: 74535 - 74552