TR #412: Vision-based graphical design in an artificial artist

Matthew Brand December 1996

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We report some advances in integrating computer vision and graphics in a computational model of "artistic vision" - the ability to see something striking in a subject and express it in a creative design. The Artificial Artist studies images of animals, then designs sculpture that conveys the strength, tension, and expression in the animals' bodies. It performs an anatomical analysis using computer vision techniques to find significant areas of the body, e.g., joints under stress. The sculptural form - kinetic mobiles - presents a number of mechanical and aesthetic design challenges, which the system solves in active imagery using field-based computing methods. Coupled potential fields simultaneously enforce soft and hard constraints - e.g., the mobile should resemble the original animal while every subassembly must be precisely balanced. The system uses iconic representations in all stages, allowing a rich flow of information between vision and design.