Cultural heritage has immeasurable value, and experiential technology has played a great role in protecting and spreading cultural heritage. Toppan, a company dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage, has formed a complete plan for the conversion, preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage through technology.
On July 1st, the TNM & TOPPAN Museum Theater, which was established by the Tokyo National Museum and Toppan Printing, reopened.
An exhibiting VR experience, 「風神雷神図屛風」 also re-opened the same day. Until July 21st, a week-long, digital cultural heritage experience 「風神雷神図屛風 」will be exhibited, which can will include both installation pieces and VR videos. In recent years, VR has become more and more common as a tool for the exchange and preservation of cultural heritage.
Digital preservation of cultural heritage
In the past, the preservation of cultural heritage was mainly based on physical preservation and photographs, but both of those methods will deteriorate over time. The development of new technologies has brought about the preservation of cultural heritage through digitalization, using VR to restore the environment in which these cultural heritages exist.
Toppan heavily emphasizes its “Invisible Things” exhibition. They uses advanced technologies to extract hidden data from the remaining drawings and materials. Under the guidance of experts and museum researchers, they reconstructed the cultural heritage data and produced virtual reality content with high academic value.
Toppan has been studying digital painting archives for nearly 10 years, and has cooperated with ten famous, Japanese painters such as Kaiki Higashiyama to produce high-definition digital art. They have built digital and VR art galleries for various arts and cultural venues, adapting the content in theme and language in order to appeal to different demographics.
Dissemination of digitized cultural heritage
Toppan VR is a digitalized cultural heritage experience that complements the real-life cultural heritage experience. It is articulated through large-scale exhibitions to promote multicultural exchanges and inheritance.
The digital cultural heritage exhibition organized by Toppan provides visitors with a new way to appreciate cultural heritage, visually transform text descriptions into easy-to-understand three-dimensional objects, and reproduce the structural characteristics and location of cultural objects through an immersive environments. To experience more authentic cultural heritages, Toppan offers three immersive experience methods:
Independent VR experience
Museum Theater provides an independent VR experience space, allowing users to freely switch between scenes or move through experience using a controller.
Three projectors seamlessly project onto the screen, and a curved screen surrounds the entire field of view, providing a more realistic and immersive experience, as if you are in a video environment. There is also a guide in the scene who describes the scene more thoroughly.
A projector and a large ultra-high-definition 4K display screen, where the resolution is 4x that of ordinary high-definition video. This solution can be used to preview immersive content outside the theater, so that viewers can choose their own content to experience.
The content of VR cultural heritage produced by Toppan is available in many locations including schools, museums, science centers, temples, etc.
walks of life are using emerging technologies to expand their business, including travel agencies. Toppan cooperates with travel agencies to use VR to experience change in life, society, or the status of someone’s home country while they are abroad.
Offline exhibitions are restricted by time and space, and cannot completely recreate cultural heritages. Toppan also sells VR content resources. Ordinary people can buy VR content online or offline, and enjoy different cultural heritages at home.
In addition, Toppan also provides replicas and souvenirs from the experiences.
Promoting cultural exchanges
Toppan not only establishes connections with artists and museums in Japan, but also cooperates with cultural heritage-related organizations around the world to transform physical cultural heritage exhibitions into digital cultural heritage experiences, promoting the spread and exchange of diverse cultures around the world.
Precise restoration of cultural heritage
Digital restoration of cultural heritage requires extremely high accuracy.
The captured image + post-grading is a common processing method, but the color is affected by personal aesthetic choices and does not fully reflect the actual state of historical relics. Toppan uses the following three main methods to restore cultural heritage:
(1) Digital measurement
Obtain the surface data and texture information of the object through a high- definition digital camera. Even if the object is large, you can use the computer-controlled imaging system and perform point shooting and omnidirectional shooting to obtain the object’s data.
(2) Color measurement
The color of the object heavily depends on the lighting. Toppan simultaneously measures the reflected light of the object and the lighting data to simulate the lighting strength received by the viewer’s perspective; and
(3) Detailed measurement.
For areas that are invisible to the naked eye, Toppan uses laser measuring instruments and mobile measuring instruments, as well as three-dimensional measurement technology to measure items from all directions in order to accurately record their shape.
With the advancement of anthropological, recording equipment, immersive cultural heritage experience methods with higher definition and more accurate reproduction will become more popular.