“Creating the illusion of motion in 2D images”

  • ©Reynold J. Bailey and Cindy M. Grimm




    Creating the illusion of motion in 2D images



    Traditional artists have developed several techniques for creating the illusion of motion in paintings. One common approach involves the use of spatial imprecision (misalignment of brush strokes) as illustrated in Figure 1 (left). When we first look at such paintings,  our fast-acting, low-acuity peripheral vision gives us a rough idea of where the brush strokes are in the scene. Mentally, we join these brush strokes together to form a complete picture. This process is called illusory conjunction. It is only upon closer scrutiny with our slower, high acuity foveal vision that we notice that the strokes are misaligned. The illusion of motion is created because our visual system completes the picture differently with every glance (this explanation was adapted from Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing [Livingstone 2002]).  We present preliminary results of a non-photorealistic technique that manipulates a static 2D image to produce the illusion of motion by introducing spatial imprecision (see Figure 1). Our technique consists of two steps. The input image is first segmented into regions of roughly uniform color and the resulting segments are then spatially perturbed. Our technique can be applied over the entire image or to specific regions of the image.  


    1. Livingstone, M. 2002. Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

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