An Invitation to Discuss Computer Depiction

Frédo Durand


in the Proceedings of NPAR 2002
The 2nd International Symposium on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering , June 2002.


This paper draws from art history and perception to place computer depiction in the broader context of picture production. It highlights the often underestimated complexity of the interactions between features in the picture and features of the represented scene. Depiction is not always a unidirectional projection from a 3D scene to a 2D picture, but involves much feedback and influence from the picture space to the object space. Depiction can be seen as a pre-existing 3D reality projected onto 2D, but also as a 2D pictorial representation that is superficially compatible with an hypothetic 3D scene. We show that depiction is essentially an optimization problem, producing the best picture given goals and constraints.

We introduce a classification of basic depiction techniques based on four kinds of issue. The spatial system deals with the mapping of spatial properties between 3D and 2D (including, but not restricted to, perspective projection). The primitive system deals with the dimensionality and mappings between picture primitives and scene primitives. Attributes deal with the assignment of visual properties such as colors, texture, or thickness. Finally, marks are the physical implementations of the picture (e.g. brush strokes, mosaic cells). A distinction is introduced between interaction and picture-generation methods, and techniques are then organized depending on the dimensionality of the inputs and outputs.


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