An optical system including a signal processing unit has been developed to study the contours of objects and/or their deformations. The optical system utilizes projectors comprising an illumination source including those outside the visible range and an observation source such as a digital camera. The optical system provides information regarding the object in such a way that renders a complete description of the surface geometry and/or its deformation. The optical system further facilitates a substantial simplification in obtaining the desired result in the form of eliminating the need for point-wise solution of simultaneous equations. The signal processing unit comprises software that, among others, provides a transformation that mimics projection and observation from infinity. The signal processing unit further reduces data processing by recognizing known geometric shapes, and automatically correcting for discontinuities of the object and/or optical system.