Abstract : Laying between computer graphics and physics, the rendering of physically based images is a domain that attempt to create images by simulating the optical behaviour of materials interacting with light (either natural or not). There are several applications : virtual restoration of cultural heritage artefacts, simulation of optical effects, industrial rendering for design and even computer-aided design of colour. This thesis presents the works realised within Virtuelium project framework, a physically based rendering software. The fourth version was developed during this thesis. Here will be presented the principles and methodologies involved for the measurements and the validation of the obtained results. We present also several works that have been done during that thesis using Virtuelium: from virtual restoration to bio-photonics, including an overview of iridescent pigments rendered for an industrial purpose.