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Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for the Documentation of Saw Mark Characteristics

Martlin, B; Rando, C; (2020) Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for the Documentation of Saw Mark Characteristics. Journal of Forensic Sciences , 65 (5) pp. 1692-1697. 10.1111/1556-4029.14330. Green open access

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Abstract

Photography is widely accepted as a means of forensic case documentation and evaluation. In cases of criminal dismemberment digital microscopy is commonly used to assess marks left on the bone. Reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) is a computational photography technique which documents and enhances the three‐dimensional (3D) reflectance properties of the surface of an object. RTI has primarily been used in the cultural heritage sector but has recently transitioned into forensic science. This study examines the use of RTI for the documentation and presentation of cut surface characteristics on fully sectioned long bones. Juvenile pig radii were bisected using three different handsaws, chosen as handsaws are the most common implement used in criminal dismemberments. The resulting 42 cut surfaces were then documented with a digital microscope and RTI. Four rendering modes were applied to the default RTI image, with diffuse gain being the most beneficial to accentuate cut surface features. Although great care must be taken when obtaining the photographic sequences necessary for detailed RTI analysis, RTI is relatively inexpensive, expeditious, and easy to use, and creates highly detailed, virtually interactive images. RTI may not replace microscopic methods of saw mark analysis, however could prove useful for the documentation, image sharing, and presentation of forensic evidence.

Type: Article
Title: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for the Documentation of Saw Mark Characteristics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14330
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.14330
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: forensic science, forensic anthropology, reflectance transformation imaging, RTI, digital analysis, saw mark analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105327
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