Interactive 3D Segmentation of Rock-Art by Enhanced Depth Maps and Gradient Preserving Regularization

Matthias Zeppelzauer, Georg Poier, Markus Seidl, Christian Reinbacher, Samuel Schulter, Christian Breiteneder, Horst Bischof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Petroglyphs (rock engravings) have been pecked and engraved by humans into natural rock surfaces thousands of years ago and are among the oldest artifacts that document early human life and culture. Some of these rock engravings have survived until the present and serve today as a unique document of ancient human life. Since petroglyphs are pecked into the surface of natural rocks, they are threatened by environmental factors such as weather and erosion. To document and preserve these valuable artifacts of human history, the 3D digitization of rock surfaces has become a suitable approach due to the development of powerful 3D reconstruction techniques in recent years. The results of 3D reconstruction are huge 3D point clouds which represent the local surface geometry in high resolution. In this article, we present an automatic 3D segmentation approach that is able to extract rock engravings from reconstructed 3D surfaces. To solve this computationally complex problem, we transfer the task of segmentation to the image-space in order to efficiently perform segmentation. Adaptive learning is applied to realize interactive segmentation and a gradient preserving energy minimization assures smooth boundaries for the segmented figures. Our experiments demonstrate the efficiency and the strong segmentation capabilities of the approach. The precise segmentation of petroglyphs from 3D surfaces provides the foundation for compiling large petroglyph databases which can then be indexed and searched automatically
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages30
JournalJournal on Computing and Cultural Heritage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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