Exact-Image Reproduction Technology / Science in The Ocean | World Anvil
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Exact-Image Reproduction

The making of perfect image reproductions is both an art and a technology that Eihlarians have been practicing for more than six hundred years.  


In the early years of making exact images, an imaging box had to be large enough to contain a metal sheet the desired size of the image. The invention of vinegar paper in 1540 Vol allowed boxes to become smaller. Because vinegar paper is transparent, a small piece of it can be exposed to light to create a template of the image. As long as the template is kept stored in a light-tight container, it can be brought to a more convenient location to be processed.   After the image is fixed, this template can then be used as a replacement for the original scene in an imaging box of the appropriate size. All the fixing and resizing can be done in one place, eliminating the need to carry around large and heavy equipment or potentially hazardous chemicals.   Midway through the 1850s the mathematical conversion engine used in dialectors began to be applied to processing images. Instead of vinegar paper, the imaging box contains an array of optical sensors that each take in information from a tiny part of the overall scene. When this information is put into the conversion engine, it recreates the image on its display.   Recently, imagers have begun experimenting with making multiple images of a subject from different angles simultaneously and combining them to create a fully three-dimensional realistic portrait. Early tests have been promising, but the results are still unsatisfactorily angular.


Visual reproductions serve a multitude of purposes.
  • Archivists use the same image-making process to duplicate documents.
  • In many clans, it is traditional to make images of family members at regular intervals to display as a record of their lives.
  • The courts often rely on exact images as evidence in cases.
  • Many people carry small imaging boxes with them constantly to record scenes they regard as particularly beautiful, interesting, or entertaining, to enjoy again later.

Social Impact

Appreciation of perfect images is limited to Eihlarians. Almost invariably, when Cluster Islanders view an exact reproduction, they react with discomfort. When asked why, they are usually not able to adequately explain this reaction. However, consulting with Water Seekers has provided some insight as to a likely reason:
"This is supposed to be a person? It has a...dead feeling. I don't like it."
(May I add, unsettling the man who is still feared throughout the islands as the former chief Wringer is quite the accomplishment.)
This, paired with the fact that Eihlarians in general are not as sensitive to auras as other oceanfolk are, suggests that for most people the feeling of pleasant recognition relies on the hydrotropic as well as the visual sense.
There is no record of who first bored a small hole in the side of a box to project an image onto an inner surface. Boxes of this kind have been used for more than a thousand years to sketch outlines for drawings and paintings of scenery.   It was during the Water Seeker visit in 1418 Vol that a Zaiyeve Seeker introduced the recently-innovated art of creating designs by treating thin metal sheets with light-sensitive chemicals, placing cut paper patterns on them, exposing them to the sun, and treating the metal with acid to fix the image. From there, it was only natural to place a treated metal sheet inside a sketching box to see if it could capture a scene as easily.
The improvements in exact-image technology provide a good example of the Eihlarian trait of embracing what is new without abandoning what is old. No stage of advancement has completely eliminated the previous one. Simple sketchboxes are still used for drawing and painting. Vinegar paper templates are still preferred for making tangible images. When fully rounded portraits are perfected, they will have their place alongside other kinds of images without supplanting them.

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