Artist Material BRDF Library

A research effort is underway at the Munsell Color Science Laboratory (MCSL) to develop a practical gonio-imaging system for use in a museum setting to more accurately document artwork. The gonio-imaging system is capable of capturing BRDF data, used to simulate the appearance of artwork from multiple viewing angles and under various lighting conditions. Necessary in the development of the system was the creation a physical library of artist material samples from which BRDF data could be obtained. The 600 unique samples created for this purpose represent the most common materials and techniques used by artists both past and present. The BRDF data obtained from the samples is avaiable here as a searchable database. Included in the database:

sample_prep sample_cabinet

Table of included materials:

Medium Substrate Color Application Technique Overcoat
Oil
Acrylic
Watercolor
  • Wash: mixed 15:1 water to paint
  • Wash: mixed 30:1 water to paint
  • Wash: mixed 60:1 water to paint
  • None
Gouache
  • Brushed: no water added
  • Brushed: mixed 50:50 with water
  • Wash: mixed 10:1 water to paint
  • None
Ink
  • None
Egg Tempera
  • None
Colored Pencil
  • None
Marker
  • None
Pastel
Charcoal
Graphite
  • None
Conté Crayon
  • None

Aggregated Datasets:

Instrument Description Download

BYK Gardener

BYK-mac multi-angle spectrophotomer

Reflectance spectra of 600 samples taken at illumination angles of -15, 15, 25, 45, 75, 110 degrees over the wavelength range 400-700nm.

Microsoft Excel Workbook (802KB Zip)

MCSL Imaging Goniospectrometer

Surface Normal Maps of 600 samples
(material descriptions included)

Archive of EXR Files (146MB Zip!)

MCSL Imaging Goniospectrometer

Ward model BRDF data

Microsoft Excel Workbook

Sample Panel Summary:

Mouse over thumbnail image to see panel detail, click for detail page and data.
PanelNum Medium Substrate Technique
1 Oil Canvas - Gessoed (x4) Coarse Linen Applied Side-to-Side with palette knife - very slight impasto
2 Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
3 Brushed - one direction (vertically)
4 Canvas - Pre-Gessoed Fine Cotton Applied Side-to-Side with palette knife - very slight impasto
5 Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
6 Brushed - one direction (vertically)
7 Masonite - Gessoed (x4) Applied with palette knife - very slight impasto
8 Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
9 Brushed - one direction (vertically)
10 Acrylic Canvas - Gessoed (x4) Coarse Linen Applied Side-to-Side with palette knife - very slight impasto
11 Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
12 Brushed - one direction (vertically)
13 Canvas - Pre-Gessoed Fine Cotton Applied Side-to-Side with palette knife - very slight impasto
14 Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
15 Brushed - one direction (vertically)
16 Masonite - Gessoed (x4) Applied with palette knife - very slight impasto
17 Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
18 Brushed - one direction (vertically)
19 Canvas - Raw Coarse Linen Applied with palette knife - "bumpy"impasto
20 Pastel/Graphite Paper Some Blended w/ tissue paper
21 Marker/Charcoal Applied in Various Driections
22 Gouache Brushed in Various Directions
23 Colored Pencil Applied in Various Driections
24 Watercolor Brushed and Washed