Fabric Sample

To change the light direction, click the lightbulb button on the left of the viewer, and click and drag over the viewer with the mouse. Click the question mark button for more guidance on using the viewer.

Reflectance Transformation Imaging is particularly valuable for capturing objects that have surface decoration or texture in low relief. Being able to move the light source makes legends, images, and wear and tear clearly visible, making it possible to investigate details of even heavily-worn objects and inscriptions.

About The Object

A loose fabric sample swatch excerpt from a Victorian dress album compiled by Rose Hobart. The fabric is a lightweight silk brocade variant, ordered for the production of a fashion cloak, with a design incorporating embroidered floral motifs and yellow accent detail.

About the RTI

This demonstration shows how RTI can create a more lifelike, engaging experience of an object than 2D photography. The sample has a very low-relief surface texture, but manipulating the light source brings the different textures and materials to life. The slightly reflective threads used for the embroidered flowers and yellow stripe are particularly highlighted, while the white-on-white details, which can be almost invisible when lit from some angles, are plainly visible.

Examples of Visual Effects in RTI Viewer

Fabric sample with normals visualisation

This view shows a false colour image of the fabric sample with each pixel’s ‘surface normal’ direction mapped to a colour palette. Surfaces angled towards the left are blue and towards the right are red, and with surfaces inclined to top of image as brighter colour and to the bottom of the image as darker colour.

Fabric sample with specular enhancement

This image was generated from the Reflectance Transformation Image of the fabric sample, in which the specularity (shininess) of the object has been enhanced mathematically to exaggerate the surface texture depth of the item.



Fabric Sample


Victorian fabric embroidery


Culver House, Devon


University of Exeter


Circa. 1880

Sample Owner

Charles Eden

File Creator

Emma Sherriff


All rights reserved in the metadata and all media by the owner unless otherwise indicated.

Format (1)

Reflectance Transformation Imaging file and associated views.

Format (2)



Textile sample