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Art, Computer Graphics, and Perception

Date and Time
Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Computer Science Small Auditorium (Room 105)
Distinguished Lecture Series
Spike Hughes, from Brown University
Thomas Funkhouser
Art, in various forms, has been around for about 50,000 years. Computer Graphics has been around for about 50. Both aim (at least in part) to create pictures, often for the purpose of generating some reaction in the mind of the viewer. Graphics, with its late start, and hence the advantage of reusing prior methods, should be a strong competitor, but so far art seems to be winning: artists, with a few pen strokes, can create a more vivid and lasting impression than can graphics programs using millions of pixels. That's because until a decade ago researchers in graphics had taken very little from art; arguably the primary knowledge transfer was the idea and mathematics of perspective. In this talk, I'll discuss an idiosyncratic view of some basic techniques of art: that these tehcniques involve ``spoofing'' of the human visual system, and that researchers in graphics, by understanding how this is done, can make better pictures based on an understanding of human perception. I'll illustrate with examples from recent research both from Brown and from other places. I'll also discuss a less obvious notion --- that using ideas from art, we may be able to improve not just \emph{output} techniques, but \emph{input} techniques as well.
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