How watching Pixar revealed the dark side of gloss
Two red dragons, one completely matte (left), and one glossy (right). The dragon on the right appears compellingly glossy especially in surface regions that generate lowlights, seen as locally dark surface regions that are not apparent on the matte counterpart. Credit: Juno Kim
(Medical Xpress)—A eureka moment while watching a movie for the umpteenth time with his children has led a University of Sydney researcher to achieve a new insight into visual perception, which could benefit traditional artists and graphic designers.
"I was watching the Pixar animation Cars with my kids for about the fiftieth time but this was the first time I noticed that the duco of one of the cars was attractively glossy even though it only reflected images of the dark trees in the background," said Dr Juno Kim, from the University's School of Psychology and the lead author of the study, published in Nature Neuroscience this week.
The observation led Dr Kim and his colleagues to test the intuitive assumption that glossiness is the result of reflections of light off a surface that is smooth, shiny or wet.
The researchers added local dark or light areas to artificial two-dimensional surfaces, and asked study participants to report whether the surfaces looked glossy.
"We found that adding dark areas and bright areas to a matte surface could make the surface appear glossy. Importantly, even surfaces made up only of arrangements of dark regions created a compelling perception of glossiness," Dr Kim said.
Glossy surfaces can produce both bright highlights and dark 'lowlights' and the presence of either is enough for the human visual system to perceive the surface as being glossy.
The findings support earlier research led by Professor Bart Anderson, from the University's Surface Perception Laboratory, that the brain performs a complex geometric analysis and does not just do simple computations in order to perceive an object.
"In this case the brain works with the geometric relationships between locally dark or locally bright regions in the context of the surrounding shading," said Dr Kim.
The findings have implications for both computer graphics and for machine vision, (where machines perform repetitive human tasks with visual feedback).
While modern artists and computer designers, such as Pixar, have previously used the technique without knowing how or why it worked, the new findings could provide better applications.
"Future graphic packages could create algorithms that take advantage of this new information to give designers new options in simulating the glossy appearance of any material," Dr Kim said.
More information: www.nature.com/neu… nn.3221.html
Journal reference: Nature Neuroscience
Provided by University of Sydney
- Scientists discover why buttercups reflect yellow on chins Dec 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers discover how feathers get their shine, inspire ideas for creating gloss Dec 01, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Helices of light: dark helices with a bright future Jun 12, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- An optical illusion called 'reverse-phi motion' helps explain how we view moving objects Sep 12, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists show that language shapes perception Feb 26, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
Neuroscience 3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.
Neuroscience 4 hours ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 2
One of the major frontiers of modern science is a comprehensive understanding of the human brain and its functions to guide the development of new technologies in information and communication. In a major announcement for ...
Neuroscience 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
Neuroscience 19 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The human brain is able to identify individuals' voices by comparing them against an internal 'average voice' prototype, according to neuroscientists.
Neuroscience 23 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 2 |
(HealthDay)—We've all seen them: the surfers who race to the beach when a hurricane hits, the guy who decides to ride out the storm in his overmatched boat, the tornado chasers who fearlessly steer their ...
36 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—New evidence-based guidelines provide guidance on medical and surgical methods for second-trimester abortion and management of associated complications, according to a practice bulletin published ...
16 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—More than one in four of those eligible for new premium assistance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not have a checking account and will not be able to receive premiums from ...
6 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Cancer cells spread and grow by avoiding detection and destruction by the immune system. Stimulation of the immune system can help to eliminate cancer cells; however, there are many factors that cause the immune system to ...
55 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) and other non-coding RNAs are small molecules that help control the expression of specific proteins. In recent years they have emerged as disease biomarkers. miRNA profiles have been used ...
53 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0