Learning the traditional art of Chinese calligraphy via three-dimensional reconstruction and assessment

Muwei Jian, Junyu Dong, Maoguo Gong, Hui Yu, Liqiang Nie, Yilong Yin, Kin Man Lam

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The traditional art of Chinese calligraphy, reflecting the wisdom of the grass-roots community, is the soul of Chinese culture. Just like many other types of craftsmanship, it is part of the historical heritage and is worth conserving, from generation to generation. Since the movements of an ink brush are in 3D style when Chinese calligraphy is written, they embody “The Power of Beauty”, comprising various reflectance properties and rough-surface geometry. To truly understand the powerful significance and beauty of the art of Chinese calligraphy, in this paper, a 3D calligraphy reconstruction method, based on Photometric Stereo, is designed to capture the detailed appearance of the calligraphy's 3D surface geometry. For assessment, an Iterative Closest Point (ICP) algorithm is applied for registration of 3D intrinsic shapes between the Chinese calligraphy and the calligraphy fans' handwriting. Through matching the two sets of calligraphy characters, the designed system will give a score to the handwriting of a user. Experiments have been performed on Chinese calligraphy from different historical dynasties to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed scheme, and experimental results show that the developed system is useful and provides a convenient method of calligraphy appreciation and assessment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Multimedia
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 23 Aug 2019


  • Image quality assessment
  • Photometric Stereo
  • 3D surface heightmap
  • 3D surface geometry
  • Chinese calligraphy


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