Getting started (Week 1)

Week 1 (26-09 till 01-10)

In your life, when out sightseeing in for example a museum, you probably found yourself in the position of wanting to take some of the most appealing painting to your home. Once you arrived home you might have even tried to use your own inkjet- or even laser printer to fulfill this wish by printing a copy just for yourself. The printed version of the artwork resulting from this home-experiment will most likely be nothing like the painting you admired in the museum, the texture of the material, the varying thicknesses of the different layers of paint, the brightnesses and tones of the colour and the overall gloss of the artwork will probably deliver a less admirable atmosphere at home then the artwork managed to deliver at the museum. Despite the maybe disappointing result of painting-printing-experiments you tried at home it might be possible to actually properly home-print your favourite artwork in the future.

Using 3D printing and scanning techniques it is now possible to create quite lifelike copies of all kinds of paintings. To really “keep the classics alive” and make indistinguishable copies from real paintings more improvements need to be made. By performing our research we will try to play our part in these improvements by using the eyetracking software from Tobii in order to find out the difference in how real experts, people who will be able to distinguish real paintings from fake, and how people without this technical knowledge, will observe 3D printed copies of famous paintings. By doing this we will try to analyse and link a proper glossy, textural feel to the 3D printed copies, making them appear more lifelike in the process.   

Our research starts by looking into information about eyetracking in general and getting to know the Tobii eye tracking software so we can use this gained knowledge further on in the process. Figure 1 shows the principle of eye tracking in a generic way.  

Figure 1 – Tobii eye tracking

First we made a test set-up as is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 – First test set-up

After picking some images and calibrating the software the testing began. Our first tests resulted in images similar to the one displayed in Figure 3. The blue dots in the figure mean that Ronja, our main test subject for today, looked in that particular direction. By giving simple tasks like “look at the ears of the bunny” and “what object is located in front of the bunny” we tried to get an impression of the level of exactitude of the software.

Figure 3 – First test bunny

When looking into and analysing some of the very first test results we discovered an inverse heat map or gaze opacity option to apply to testresults in Tobii studio. Briefly explained: an inverse heat map only shows those aspects of the image people looked into the most, in short a very useful function for our research. This feature enabled us to quickly see if gloss really is something that catches the eyes of the beholder. A quick study showed us that the glossy aspect in images really seemed to matter. When looking at figure 4, which displays an original image, and looking at figure 5, which shows the inverse heat map of said image based on the way Ronja looked at it, we can clearly see that the glossy aspects of the balls are clearly noteted in our eye tracking experiment. More research is certainly necessary to properly conclude such important aspects but being able to see this phenomenon happen so quickly surely seems like a good start to us.

Figure 4 – Gloss test start image

Figure 5 – Inverse heatmap (gaze opacity of gloss)

In this first week we did not only take our time to do some first testing with the software, we also made a planning and did the necessary organizational stuff which you come across when you plan to perform a research like the one we want to do. All things that are not particularly interesting to talk about for us nor to read about for you so we will skip that part and continue on talking all about the eyetracking software.

The first things we observed is that properly and consequently calibrating the software is of great importance for the results to be optimally useful. This process has been shown in figure 6.

Figure 6 – Callibration eye tracker

After the first few simple tests we performed it can be concluded that the Tobii software functions as expected and that we will be able to use said software for our further research. The results were as expected and got us very exciting to continue using eyetracking for our actual goal: improving the lifelikeness of the gloss-property in 3D printed copies of paintings.


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