Content-Aware Surface Parameterization for Interactive Restoration of Historical Documents

Kazim Pal, Christian Schüller, Daniele Panozzo, Olga Sorkine-Hornung, Tim Weyrich

Content-Aware Surface Parameterization for Interactive Restoration of Historical Documents


We present an interactive method to restore severely damaged historical parchments. When damaged by heat in a fire, such manuscripts undergo a complex deformation and contain various geometric distortions such as wrinkling, buckling, and shrinking, rendering them nearly illegible. They cannot be physically flattened due to the risk of further damage. We propose a virtual restoration framework to estimate the non-rigid deformation the parchment underwent and to revert it, making reading the text significantly easier whilst maintaining the veracity of the textual content. We estimate the deformation by combining automatically extracted constraints with user-provided hints informed by domain knowledge. We demonstrate that our method successfully flattens and straightens the text on a variety of pages scanned from a 17th century document which fell victim to fire damage.


blog/press articles

accompanying video


We thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and Emily Whiting for narrating the accompanying video. This work was supported by the UCL EngD VEIV Centre for Doctoral Training, by the ERC grant iModel (StG-2012-306877), by a gift from Adobe Research, and by The Honourable The Irish Society and the City of London Corporation, London Metropolitan Archives, who we would like to thank for access to the Great Parchment Book. We would particularly like to thank Philippa Smith, Caroline De Stefani and Alberto Campagnolo of London Metropolitan Archives for their invaluable support and, last but not least, Melissa Terras for her continual advice throughout the project.