Trillinium Mosaic of Antioch

PHOTO RETOUCHING

This was a rather large masking and colorization project completed for the Antioch, The Lost Ancient City exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Spring 2001.

A small section of unearthed mosaic allowed artisans to restore the rest of the floor. After an exhibit in Worcester, Massachusetts, where a grayscale version of the floor was displayed, the curators at the Cleveland Museum of Art wanted to exhibit this piece in color. My task was to create digital masks for each of the tile and grout areas in the floor and its respective decorative borders, colorize the images to match the original mosaic, and assemble them as necessary to recreate the entire floor mosaic.

Subtle colorization was done to match the delicate colors in the original unearthed mosaic sample. The digital files were assembled and output to flooring material (think hi-tech linoleum) and installed as flooring in a roped off central location of the exhibit. The size of one of the side mosaic sections (left or right on the U-shaped composite) measured four feet wide by fifteen feet long, up to the bottom of the top section. The file sizes for these sections, with masks, were close to 700MB each. In 2001, these were VERY large files to work with in Photoshop.

The samples here show some of the supplied pieces of the mosaic and trim, a photo of the original unearthed piece, and the final assembled, colorized floor. A complete illustration, with central floor mosaics, was provided in the exhibit catalog.

The top image at shows the basic before and after elements.

Upper left corner: Three supplied floor sections, set loosely in the U-shape. Pictured with it are wave corners, a section of meander, and a wave section.

Lower left corner: The small section of unearthed mosaic.

Right: The colorized, assembled floor. In the center are enlarged pieces of the floor mosaic, a wave corner with meander, and a section of waves and meander together.

Also in the lower image, we see enlarged pieces of some of the supplied images. On the left, waves and then meander.

On the right we see the top left section of the floor mosaic. These were supplied as three pieces; the top section, a left section, and a right section. These sections had to be overlapped and matched perfectly, which was easier to do with higher resolution images than we can show here. When matching images, we screen back the top image to see the image below for more precise matching. Everything had to be pieced to assemble the final floor.

For colorizing, intricate (channel) masks had to be created. The colorization was done numerically, not visually. The grout was subtly colorized as well.

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