Artistic adjustment of image spectral slope

Mather, George (2014) Artistic adjustment of image spectral slope. Art & Perception, 2 (1-2). pp. 11-22. ISSN 2213-4905

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

The Fourier spectral slope of 31 artworks was compared to the spectral slope of closely matched
photographic images. The artworks were found to display a relatively narrow range of spectral slopes
relative to the photographs. Two accounts for this range compression were investigated. The first
proposes that the band-pass nature of the visual system’s psychophysical ‘window of visibility’ is
responsible. Simulation of this effect by application of an appropriate spatial filter to the original
photographs could not explain the range compression, unless one assumed a consistent relation between
the visual angle subtended by the scene at the artist’s eye, and the scene’s spectral slope (such
that scenes with a steep slope subtended larger angles than scenes with a shallow slope). The second
account involves more complex ‘artistic’ filtering which smoothes out textural details while preserving
edges. Application of two such filters to the photographs was able to reproduce the spectral slope
range compression evident in artworks. Both explanations posit a central role for the artist’s visual
system in adjusting image spectral slope, which can be modelled using visual filters.

Keywords:visual art, image statistics
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G750 Cognitive Modelling
W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:13365
Deposited On:18 Feb 2014 15:48

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