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Abstract For computer graphics applications, capturing the appearance parameters of objects (reflectance, transmittance and small scale surface structures), is as important as capturing the overall shape. We briefly review recent approaches developed by the computer graphics community to solve this problem. Excellent results have been obtained by various researchers measuring spatially varying reflectance functions for some classes of objects. We will consider some challenges from two of the remaining problematic classes of objects. First we will describe our experience scanning and modeling the throne of Tutankhamen. The major difficulties in this case were that the base shape was a highly detailed non-convex geometry with complex topology, and the shape was covered by optically uncooperative gold and silver. Then we will discuss some observations from our ongoing project to scan and model historic buildings on the Yale campus. The major difficulties in this second case are quantity of data and the lack of control over acquisition conditions.