Highlight and Specular reflection removal in photogrammetric techniques applied to Architectural Heritage 3D modeling


  • Fabrizio Ivan Apollonio Department of Architecture, Università di Bologna
  • Andrea Ballabeni Department of Architecture, Università di Bologna
  • Marco Gaiani Department of Architecture, Università di Bologna




3D modelling, Structure from Motion, Automatic photogrammetry, Specular removal, Image processing, Color mapping, Reflection component separation


In this paper, we present a new technique to remove specular effects from the photo- grammetric results in a automatic photogrammetric workflow for Architectural Heritage (AH) 3D model construction. Our solution provides a new reconstruction pipeline completely integrated in the automatic photogrammetric pipeline re-using existing data to arrange new results. The process of acquisition of the images to get the finished 3D model is therefore unique and the process for acquiring and visualizing the correct perceived color is fully integrated with the process of shape capture. Overall, the method does not require specific technical knowledge, being therefore relatively easy to use, and it can be used over many different urban settings and contexts. The proposed methodology is a high-level image-processing algorithm. As such, it uses several lower-level methods for its building blocks. We consider these methods as black boxes, and we explain below their input, output and purpose.

We demonstrated the efficiency of our method using case study of our work in many cases of the ca 43 km of historical porticoes system in Bologna, Italy, a superset of the family of AH objects that it belongs to.

Author Biographies

Fabrizio Ivan Apollonio, Department of Architecture, Università di Bologna

Fabrizio Ivan Apollonio, Full Professor at University of Bologna, Dept. of Architecture, and PhD in Survey of the existing Built Heritage (University of Ancona). His main research topics lies on Virtual reconstruction, semantic modeling and application in the field of ICT to Cultural Heritage and development of information/cognitive systems aimed to fruition, study and documentation of CH.

Andrea Ballabeni, Department of Architecture, Università di Bologna

Andrea Ballabeni, neuroscientist at heart and computer scientist for trade, he has worked for the largest Italian software companies as software developer and project manager during the last decade. He has a PhD in neuroscience and a master degree in Experimental psychology. He is now research technician and Senior software developer at Department of Architecture – University of Bologna.

Marco Gaiani , Department of Architecture, Università di Bologna

Marco Gaiani is Full Professor of Architectural Representation at the University of Bologna and past Director of Director of the Design Dept. of the Politecnico of Milano and DAPT of University of Bologna. A specialist in 3D computer imaging, modelling and visualization for Heritage and archaeology, he was one the first developers/user of laser scanning technology in the Cultural Heritage field and also developed photogrammetry-related technologies.


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How to Cite

Apollonio, F. I., Ballabeni, A. and Gaiani , M. . (2017) “Highlight and Specular reflection removal in photogrammetric techniques applied to Architectural Heritage 3D modeling”, Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 7, pp. 39–57. doi: 10.23738/ccsj.i72017.04.