The study of three dimensional images began with image processing by artificial satellites; in the ‘70s NASA scientists succeeded in obtaining three dimensional pictures of celestial bodies since their distance allows to perceive their images’ different brightness.
On the contrary, there is no three dimensional information in ordinary pictures since the photographic process does not allow to establish a direct connection between the objects and the distance separating them from the camera.
The three dimensional analysis and revision are possible only if the lighting on the object depends from its distance; otherwise, in order to have an image in relief, not less than two pictures of the same object, separated by a known distance, are needed (like in stereoscopic photography). Therefore, when you process ordinary pictures portraying people to obtain vertical reliefs, many are the distortions.
In 1902 Paul Vignon, biology professor at the Institut Catholique in Paris was the first to notice, that the intensity of the image on the Shroud seemed to change in invers proportion to the distance between the cloth and the body. Namely, the nearer the body has been to the cloth, the darker the image has become and at Vignon time there was no way to confirm this hypothesis.
In 1977 U.S. Air Force Academy researchers, Mr. Eric J. Jumper and Mr. John Jackson, carried out checks on it through a VP-8 image analyzer that, on the basis of a hyperbolic law, converted the image intensity tones into vertical relief levels finally getting the body and face three dimensional images.
In may 1978 professor Giovanni Tamburelli from the University of Turin attended a convention on the Shroud and was dumbfounded by the quality of the Jumper and Jackson images since they had a lower definition than the original bidimensional image. Therefore, Tamburelli set up a research team in Turin that started electronic studies of the Shroud. The first results were already achieved in the 1978 summer to be constantly updated and expanded in the following years by more studies still carried on today even after Tamburelli’s death (1990) by a Computer Department of the University of Turin team supervised by professor Nello Balossino.
The numerical three dimensional processing suggested that the cloth’s bending was fitting, that is to say in the shape of a kind of regular curved surface slanting between the nose and the forehead, and that came in contact with the body’s brighter parts.
The distance between the body and the cloth has been estimated according to the vertical line considering the supine body. The hypothesis is that all the pixels of a region combining the point right by the image pixel contribute to a single image pixel formation.
The adopted transformation law is based on the Mac Laurin mass development whose coefficients have been suitably changed in order to obtain the highest image definition.
To develop a 3D processing the starting point was the image shown on the right, fig.2; fig.3, where surprisingly appear a relief anywhere else regular and a quite high definition, shows the result.
The slope shown by the image aims at fully take advantage of the phisiology of the vision: indeed, the three dimensional aspect of any structure is better valued if there are perspective lines simulating a perspective.
The same method used for the face was used to process the body image. First of all, the bidimensional image was processed in order to remove any interferences as much as possible. Than, relief was introduced by a compromise law different from the one used for the face since blood distribution in the remaining parts of the body was different too. Fig.4 shows the three dimensional representation of the frontal side of the body.
The three dimensional origin of the image of the Shroud is therefore fully confirmed: the relief and the definition of all the details are really impressive both from the point of view of the human aspect and from the scientific one.
The two computer face and body processings are very important having allowed to notice many details that either are not easy or clear to find in original bidimensional images.
As a matter of fact, helped by the data processing, nearly all the tortures the Man of the Shroud was subjected to can be read on it and are comparable to those Jesus Christ was subjected to and the Gospels describe.
Some details emerged only through the three dimensional processing and this fact precludes all possibilities of any kind of human devices in the image formation process. It is unconceivable to believe that such revealing details, invisibile to the human eye but not after having been processed, could have been put in an artificial way.