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Computers With Opinions On Visual Aesthetics

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the artificial-fastidiousness dept.

Software 125

photoenthusiast writes "Penn State researchers launched a new online photo-rating system, code named Acquine (Aesthetic Quality Inference Engine), for automatically determining the aesthetic value of a photo. Users can upload their own photographs for an instant Acquine rating, a score from zero to 100. The system learns to associate extracted visual characteristics with the way humans rate photos based on a lot of previously-rated photographs. It is designed for color natural photographic pictures. Technical publications reveal how Acquine works."

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125 comments

Computers with opinions?! (5, Funny)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963681)

Oh great, now we'll turn our computer on in the morning, and it will say "I think this is far too early!" and switch itself back off.

My lone opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27963753)

Is that this sort of thing is the dumbest ever, and is bad for the field of AI, where some people are trying to do real work.

Re:My lone opinion (5, Insightful)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964685)

The field of AI is not comprised of a majority of researchers frantically trying to build an expert system that can pass a Turing Test. Visual data is complicated and building a system that can take that information and make use it in a very simplistic manner [wikipedia.org] is non-trivial. Read some [stanford.edu] of scientific papers [stanford.edu] published by [stanford.edu] the authors of Acquine, and you'll see that their methodology (image processing, regression, Bayes' classification, decision trees, support vector machines, classification and regression trees, to name but a few) is anything but trivial.

Not only did they build something novel, but they built a system that does a good job of approximating human response to good/bad photography.

If you want to contest the true novelty of their work, through an academically-inspired claim that they combined existing technologies in a way that isn't terribly novel, rather than creating their own technology, then that's fine. However, the blanket statement that some researchers are trying to do "real work" [robocup.org] and that Acquine isn't real work, is a giant red-flag indicating that you likely haven't got the slightest clue what actually goes on in the field of AI. Typically researchers like to tackle problems where the utility of their solutions isn't immediately obvious, the previous link to the RoboCup competition is a perfect example; who cares if you can build a robot that can play soccer? By your reasoning, that would be an incredible waste of time. Except, it's becoming the standard problem for multi-robotic systems research, and a large number of AI researchers are devoting significant time towards building RoboCup teams.

Why?

Simple, pick a real world task for a group of robots that "matters". Now decompose that task into all the subproblems that you would need to solve in order to have a robot complete the main task. Chances are, you're going to run into problems involving self-localization, team-work/cooperation, vision, data fusion, etc... All of those subproblems are being worked on and solved in different ways by researchers in the RoboCup challenge. And chances are, if you choose the methodologies used by the teams that win games you're likely to have chosen the most effective methodologies available in the field.

The true value of research isn't the end-product of each individual research-project. It's the end-product of many "useless" research-projects combined.

Re:My lone opinion (1)

molex333 (1230136) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965025)

Bravo! Well stated. The field of AI is filled with seemingly innocuous research, that is until someone figures out a way to combine some of that research in a way that is useful. In my opinion, we are on our way to creating AI that is capable of learning and understanding on near human levels. The fact that a computer can judge photography nearly the same as a human proves that a computer can understand aesthetics! For anyone in the field, this is HUGE!!!!

Re:My lone opinion (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27965893)

Do you find that it "does a good job of approximating human response"? Because I don't. Photos that are absolute crap get 99.99% and interesting photos get 1%. It seems completely random, except for its apparent preference for high resolution and black borders.

Re:My lone opinion (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27966573)

The field of AI is not comprised of a majority of researchers frantically trying to build an expert system that can pass a Turing Test. Visual data is complicated and building a system that can take that information and make use it in a very simplistic manner is non-trivial

Chances are that the types of algorithms it takes to make sense of incredibly complex visual data are the same types of algorithms you would need to pass a Turing test.

The dangers of trusting machines... (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#27966911)

So I follow the link and think, hey this is pretty cool. I grab some screen shots of my apps and run them through. Unsurprisingly, some old VB6 crap I'm still maintaining was scoring in the 5-10% range. The newer Web and Silverlight apps I've been working on are all over from 30%-70%. I'm thinking this software is pretty cool and we could use it to get rapid feedback on different layouts and styles.

So I send the link to one of my co-workers. He brings it up and posts a screen shot of his web site. We start talking about how we could use it and how it works. And we wind up with a little impromptu meeting at his cubicle. 5 people huddled around his desk checking out the rating system.

And then we hit the home page, were recent highly rated photo thumbnails are shown. And what do we see?

Some lady, buck naked, leaning on her shoulder blades, twisted up like a pretzel shooting an anal douche fountain a few feet into the air.

And that is why you never trust a machine to rate user submitted images.

-Rick

Re:Computers with opinions?! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964651)

Is that a bad thing? I'd love to have a computer that holds itself to my standards for time of activity, rather than gradually being held to my computer's schedule.

Signed: Redundant array of inexpensive employees, high availability node #145738433

Re:Computers with opinions?! (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964973)

Funny, eh? I, however, don't need to know the visual aesthetics of the goat.cx dude, which is what I was greeted with when I went to the actual site. Thanks, it was the perfect troll.

Re:Computers with opinions?! (5, Funny)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965545)

Oh, this takes me back to something that happened when I was still at school, around about 1996 or so.

At the time, despite being pretty much clueless by slashdot standards, I functioned (and still do function, when I can't avoid it) as the all purpose IT helpdesk for my family.

Now, I have an aunt who was working as a manager in a medium sized UK based IT firm (I can't remember the name and I don't even think they're still around). However, do not take this as any indication that she knew anything at all about computers. She didn't. Nor did she have any inclination to learn. She could just about manage to use Microsoft Office and the web/e-mail clients that were around at the time (I think this was around the time of Netscape 2). Literally anything beyond that would baffle her. She'd call her monitor "the computer" and so on. She was employed, I gather, for her "management skills".

Now, even at the time, I had a feeling that this was a crock. My aunt is a rather forceful personality. A less diplomatic person might use more bovine terminology and I always got the impression that she wouldn't be much fun to work for.

She's also very, very, very large (over 25 stone) and ugly as sin to boot. That's not me being deliberately rude. There's just no nicer way to put it without doing a genuine dis-service to the truth.

Anyway, one Saturday afternoon, I get a call from her. Her voice implies that she's perched in that dangerous territory between bursting into tears and throwing a screaming, PC-destroying fit. Apparently, her computer is "insulting" her. I need to go over there instantly. I got a lot of this kind of stuff until, a couple of years later, I finally told her where she could stick it after I moved off to university and got a call asking me to travel 200 miles to fix something. Anyway, I'm not best pleased about losing a Saturday afternoon, especially with exams coming up, but for the sake of a quiet life, I head over.

Oh boy was it ever worth it.

Sure enough, every two minutes on the dot, her PC is insulting her. Whatever she's doing in Windows, a little dialogue box will pop up with a splendidly vicious insult. I mean, some these were absolute gems and were clearly aimed right at her personally. A few of the more repeatable examples (and I still remember these more than a decade later) were:

"Careful! Better fetch an extra chair. I think those two are about to give way."
"Wow you must be constipated. Or does your face just look like that normally?"
"Did you just fart, or do you always smell like that?"
"Wipe your face. Half your lunch is stuck between your fifth and sixth chins."
"Is that your face or your arse I can see? Your face? Hmm... the arse might be better."
"I can access over 64,000,000 images via the Internet and none of them are as ugly as you."
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? No? How about a half-digested turnip?"

There was plenty of other stuff as well, including the old classics about ID10T and PEBCAK errors, but enough of it was specific enough to my aunt (making mention of particularly distinctive unflattering features) that this was clearly something bespoke.

Anyway, my aunt's in an absolute state at this point. She's convinced that the computer is insulting her. She tells me she tried covering up the monitor for half an hour (so it couldn't see her), but when she came back, it had been queuing up the insults.

Anyway, having confirmed that a virus scanner doesn't pick anything up, I ask to see any disks she's put in the PC lately, or any files she's downloaded. The downloaded files all look pretty safe, and it doesn't seem like anything dodgy's come in via e-mail either. However, she then shows me a couple of disks (3.5" floppies) she'd brought home with work on. These are a numbered series of progress reports. Most of the disks look absolutely fine - a few Word and Excel files. Nothing too scary (I don't think MS Office files were being used extensively for exploits at the time).

However, on the first disk in the series, there's a strange file called "start.exe". I ask her and she says that she was told by her team that she'd need to run this before she could open the other files. The other files are just normal MS Office files, perfectly compatible with the version of office on her home PC.

Hmmm...

Decision time...

"Right", I say, "it looks like this is probably something you've picked up off the internet".

When it comes to the crunch, I just can't bear to tell her what is now looking like the blatant truth, as doing so would no doubt get at least one person fired.

With my skill level at the time, I have no hope of unpicking whatever start.exe has almost certainly done to her system. So I spend the rest of the afternoon backing up her stuff, formatting the hard disk and reinstalling Windows 95 from scratch.

Part of me hopes that whoever was responsible for this reads this post. I don't resent you guys for the loss of a Saturday afternoon. Hey, thanks for giving me a laugh. But I'm sure you'll like having an account of what the result was.

Re:Computers with opinions?! (3, Funny)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 4 years ago | (#27967121)

Dude, the algorithm is simple. B&W pictures automatically get 85 points.

Computer, play something by Billy Joel (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27963697)

I'am afraid I cannot do that Dave.

Matter of opinion? (4, Insightful)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963709)

Isn't aesthetic value a hugely personal thing? I mean I looked at some of the photos on the site and the ratings were arse-backwards as far as I was concerned. Generic, boring and frankly badly composed images were getting ~95%, whereas others that I thought were truely exceptional were being ranked in the 50's.

I'm not saying "my opinion is better", just that it seems sort of pointless to assign a value to a picture like this.

Re:Matter of opinion? (4, Informative)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963843)

Just in case anyone asks, here's the computer rating for goatse, emphasis mine:

Machine Prediction of Aesthetic Value
Score predicted by Acquine: 19.4/100 rated as below average

Looking at that image a

Re:Matter of opinion? (3, Funny)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963857)

Tubgirl, on the other hand, rates a 58.8/100.

Someone please stop me.

Re:Matter of opinion? (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963865)

Lemonparty: 28.8/100

The goggles! They do nothing!

Re:Matter of opinion? (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963889)

Penis Bird: 17.7 / 100

Acquine may be on to something.

Re:Matter of opinion? (2, Funny)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963919)

Acquine's rating of the first Google Image result for "Natalie Portman Hot Grits:"

76.1/100

Judging from my quick research, it's clear that Acquine is going to turn into Skynet someday.

Re:Matter of opinion? (4, Funny)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963951)

By the way, I uploaded a screenshot of the Google results for "Slashdot Karma Whore" (all text) and got a 42.4/100.

Re:Matter of opinion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964317)

Well, it's a picture of computer generated text, and being judged by a computer.

Of course it likes that kind of thing. Unlike those boring pictures of humans, it probably feels a personal connection to it.

In other, unrelated news... (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963991)

In other, unrelated news, Penn State researchers have released an online image voting system called 'Aesthetic or not' where users are presented with a random image and have to give it a score of between 0 and 100.

Initial user participation was good until for some completely unknown reason, 90% of images presented to users for rating were goatse, tubgirl, or other shock images.

Re:In other, unrelated news... (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965583)

Initial user participation was good until for some completely unknown reason, 90% of images presented to users for rating were goatse, tubgirl, or other shock images.

I assume you were joking, but it's actually playing out that way. One out of every four of the images on the front page looks like the type of thing a slashdotter would contribute, and the site says:

5/15/2009 Due to a slashdot exposure, we are experiencing a much larger traffic to our small Webserver.
There is a possibility that your photo request may not be handled as fast as it should be. Thanks!

Re:Matter of opinion? (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963887)

I'm not saying "my opinion is better"

I am. At least they tried something new.

Rubbish. (3, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963711)

It's terrible. Awful. A hopeless system. I wouldn't use ever it.

And I'm not just saying that because it rated a couple of my photos as poor. :)

Re:Rubbish. (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964029)

It rated one of the best pictures I've ever taken as 13. Then it rated a fairly generic cityscape at around 60.

I think it has some learning to do.

Re:Rubbish. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965143)

Well, maybe that means not that it has some learning to do but that your 'greatest photograph' isn't as great as you thought on an absolute scale. After all, aren't you inherently biased?

Re:Rubbish. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#27966413)

Sure, I'm not saying it's actually that great on any sort of absolute scale, but IMHO (and that of others I've shown some of my pics to), it's a good shot and, not being that photographically inclined, those are unusual for me.

But I am saying that I fed it some much more mediocre crap and it loved it. Perhaps the problem it has is inherent - this whole topic is so subjective that it's pointless.

Re:Rubbish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27967769)

I agree with Nursie. I submitted a couple of my pictures that I think are really good. These images have done well in local/regional competition and I recently sold a print of one through an art gallery. They were rated 23/100 and 13/100. Then I uploaded a recent throwaway, a pic of a bird that is out of focus because the camera AF locked onto a tree branch, and the image was rated 74/100.

Now we just need POQUINE (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963715)

Post Quality Inference Engine for Slashdot. No more mods.

Re:Now we just need POQUINE (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963817)

That should be easy. Rate posts based on the presence of keywords. "GNAA", "Frosty piss"(and variants) etc. get a post flagged as troll, presence of "M$" and "correlation is not causation" get flagged "insightful".

Re:Now we just need POQUINE (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964219)

presence of "M$" and "correlation is not causation" get flagged "insightful"

That's not how Slashdot really works. Due to the number of astroturfers here, anything critical of Microsoft, no matter how true it is, is usually modded "Overrated", while "Vista works fine for me" gets "Informative".

Re:Now we just need POQUINE (1, Offtopic)

fortyonejb (1116789) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964623)

I'm sorry, I can't find your version of /. Maybe we're on a different internet, can you give me the address of yours?

Re:Now we just need POQUINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964773)

127.0.0.1

Re:Now we just need POQUINE (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#27967643)

No seriously, exactly how many people do you think Microsoft pays by the hour to browse slashdot and post pro-microsoft stuff? How much would one guy posting a few comments an hour, with no guarantee that he will be modded up, benefit microsoft financially? Seriously? Are you really so out of touch as to think that anyone who posts that Vista is working OK for them in the middle of a traditional MS-bashing is an astroturfer?

This may be really tough.. (4, Insightful)

powerslave12r (1389937) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963733)

This seems a little far-fetched considering the vagueness of someone liking a photo that another person doesn't. I can't imagine this on something like flickr. I guess this could be some standalone rating that people could use on stock photography sites, where buying something needs to have commercial appeal. Websites such as alamy.com tend to do these things manually, they probably might find some use for this.

Acquine may assign funny scores... (5, Insightful)

marmusa (557884) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963749)

From the Acquine website "A rule of thumb is that if the aesthetic quality of a photo is obvious to most people, it may not be worthwhile to seek Acquine's opinion on it because Acquine may assign funny scores in such cases." So in cases where the correct score is obvious, Acquine's score can't be trusted? That rather neatly avoids validation or refutation of Acquine's results. This is suspicious and seems to cast doubt on the trustworthiness of its score in less obvious cases.

Re:Acquine may assign funny scores... (3, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964271)

"A rule of thumb is that if the aesthetic quality of a photo is obvious to most people, it may not be worthwhile to seek Acquine's opinion on it because Acquine may assign funny scores in such cases." So in cases where the correct score is obvious, Acquine's score can't be trusted?

I noticed this with a picture I took in France that everybody praises. It got 6.9. I did the smallest possible change in color, darkening it imperceptibly. The new version got 35.7. Doing a selective gaussian blur also tends to raise the result a lot.

My rating of their algorithm is 0.01 star, which can be summarized as "it sucks".

Re:Acquine may assign funny scores... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965189)

At least you made some colour changes. I handed it the thumbnail version of a photo and got dramatically better results than from the high-res version of the same image...

Re:Acquine may assign funny scores... (3, Funny)

onedotzero (926558) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965355)

I uploaded a 1x1 pixel black image. It scored 24.6. I then uploaded a 1x1 pixel white image, which scored 41.7.

Looks your rating is accurate :)

Re:Acquine may assign funny scores... (1)

sfarmstrong (1106577) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965581)

How heavily were the original images compressed? Selective Gaussian blur tends to remove compression artifacts, smooth gradients, and keep edges intact. I wonder if Acquine was responding badly to artifacts in your source images.

Re:Acquine may assign funny scores... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965883)

The image had the best possible quality that would fit in the allowed file size. I believe their algorithm is biased toward portraits, that have a big sharply focused central subject and an out of focus background.

My picture was a boat in a canal, and it had great depth of field. What the selective gaussian blur did was to soften the surrounds, like branches, leaves, and reeds in the image, while keeping the boat in the center in sharp focus.

What exactly is a "color professional photograph"? (2, Insightful)

fake_name (245088) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963811)

What exactly is a "color professional photograph"? Landscapes? Portraits? Group shots? Sports photography? Photo journalism? Abstracts? Artistic Nudes?

This may be an interesting programming toy but it has little to no use in the real world, unless you have a desire to locate generically boring pictures built to formula. (or, generically boring pictures that have been run through the "ALIPR Picture Score Optimizer" Photoshop filter)

terrible (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27963873)

It prefers a nazi germany flag over some beautiful landscapes and portraits

my name is godwin and I approve this message

Our redundant brains (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963897)

This is great news, a system to tell us whether a photograph is beautiful or not. We are approaching the point where we can outsource all our thinking to computers. Soon we won't have to use our brains at all!

(Not that many of us do presently, anyway.)

Re:Our redundant brains (1, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965133)

This is great news, a system to tell us whether a photograph is beautiful or not. We are approaching the point where we can outsource all our thinking to computers. Soon we won't have to use our brains at all!

Wow, what an uhh... <looks at what mods rated your post>... insightful posting! I'll have to wait to find out what kind of posting mine is.

Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (5, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963923)

Just google image search for any Pulitzer Prize winning photo and upload it to the Penn State ACQUINE system and see how some of them fare to the Goatse image...

The Iwo Jima flag raising photo at this URL gets a 26.1 in the system.
http://surreality.info/up/WW2_Iwo_Jima_flag_raising.jpg [surreality.info]

The fucking Goatse image with a construction crane photoshopped into it (don't ask) just got an 84.1 on the same ACQUINE system....and no I'm not going to provide a URL just test it yourself.

So Goate is a better image than the Iwo Jima flag raising photo?

Am I missing something?

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963971)

So Goate is a better image than the Iwo Jima flag raising photo?

Maybe all the people sending goatse to it has biased its aesthetic judgement.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (5, Insightful)

DerCed (155038) | more than 4 years ago | (#27963979)

How on earth should an algorithm know how to infer the symbolic value of the flag rising image?! As far as I understand the Pulitzer Prize is not about artistic and aesthetic value, but rather about journalistic impact, isn't it?

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965673)

Well that's exactly the point, isn't it? We're a long way from AI being able to judge artistic merits, because doing so often isn't just a property of the image alone, but is related to what the things in the image represent.

Now having said that, it might be interesting to have some judgement that is not biased by cultural perceptions - one that treats Pulitzer and Goatse on an equal playing field, judging what they look like rather than what they represent. But it's unclear what meaning such an algorithm has - it's not comparable to what humans would think, nor is it meaningful to say it's the computer's own opinion (I mean, anyone could write an algorithm that assigns some arbitrary value based on the image data, but what use or meaning that has is another matter.)

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#27966407)

Symbolic appeal is very much different from aesthetic appeal.

I think the problem with Iwo Jima is that it is in black and white and the system is designed to rank color images, according to TFA. However, I think we can see a certain ... similarity between the two pictures. One of the criteria for a composition is how the eye is drawn to a focal point in an image. In the Iwo Jima photo, the mound of the hill is sharpened by the triangular form of the squad and the flagpole, drawing the eye to the flag. I think we can conclude that it is an unusually strong composition.

As for Mr. Goatse ... Well, I suppose if we judge it by the same criterion it'd have to be pretty good.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964015)

Am I missing something?

I don't know, but putting those two pictures together, you've painted an image in my head where they're planting that flag somewhere else I priorly, innocently, assumed, outside of the picture.

Also, you're missing the aspect of sentimental "beauty", or emotion a picture evoces, this picture calls up alot to the viewer, and more the US population as it plays on patriotism, which lives strong in the US.(not saying anything about that or judging, it's a common observation.). A computer cannot really trap those nuances to tag it as aestheticallypleasing to you, in what way it will emotionally spark you, or even which thoughts and inspiration a picture provokes.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964059)

I don't give a shit about some yank grunts waving a flag about. You're surprised some system immune to patriotic flag waving bullshit doesn't think too much of it? Perhaps you should stick in an American girl and an Iranian girl and see if it marks down the Iranian for having a president who denies the holocaust happened?

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964285)

http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/9954/mother_in_burka.jpg

It's good looking fabric

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964231)

Interestingly, Longcat [randomplayground.net] got a perfect score of 100. It seems that while Acquine may not have a good sense for aesthetics, it certainly has a great sense of humor.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (4, Insightful)

Saba (308071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964293)

Am I missing something?

Yes.

The system learns the quality of photo, not the abstractions we place upon it.

The photograph, in strict terms of quality alone, is rather poor and achieves an appropriate rating. It cannot measure the value of the image.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1)

mikerz (966720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27966529)

This may sound strange to you, but image is the least important part of art. Any aesthetic formula or method is crap, because it lacks soul and intention.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 4 years ago | (#27967611)

this may be surprising to you and vinylrecords,
but this app isn't claiming to say squat about "art",
it's claiming to simulate human aesthetic reactions.
(and apparently doing a dubious job of it but at least it's trying)

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1)

The Outlander (1279696) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964371)

I think that photo is a little unfair as its composition is unusual and breaks many rules (im not saying its a bad photo, its obviously not but it is unusually composed)

When you feed a few Ansel Adams photos into it though and it only gives between 40-60 you know somethings not right.

What a pile of shit.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964531)

Well, this wonderful nature scene [populationpaste.com] only scored a 14.1. So far I'd say so far this ACQUINE thing is bang on.

Re:Pulitzer versus Goatse.... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965105)

The fucking Goatse image with a construction crane photoshopped into it (don't ask) just got an 84.1 on the same ACQUINE system....and no I'm not going to provide a URL just test it yourself.

Somewhere a Google engineer wonders why the sudden surge of image searches for "goatse crane".

Geek's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27963965)

Howcome Geek's allwyas try to find matematical patterns to explayn what they can't?

Problematic image? (1)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964011)

I tried the system, using a high dynamic range pano that I'm very satisfied with, and which has received a bit of praise from other photographers:

http://norloff.org/pano/mirror5x3medium.jpg [norloff.org]

According to the computer this image is worth 28.1 points.

I guess this means that either the image is a lot worse than I believed, or the rating system has problems with it. :-)

Terje

Seems as accurate as any other photo sharing site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964081)

I've just run a few of my photos, which are on several photo sharing/critique sites and the results seem fairly similar.

Most of the ones I like it scores low, ones I think are formulaic and generic seem to score highly...

If they could adapt it to add random 'nice shot' and 'what settings did you use?' type comments to each image I'd say you could replace most of the photo sites on the web with it and no one would even notice!

A vaguely interesting waste of 5 minutes, but limited real use as it take no account of mood, subject, situation or any of the other things that help define a 'good' photo.

this is goat5ex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964131)

[slashdot.org], can connect to itself backwards, to survive at all myself. This isn't of America (GNAA) Propaganda and though, I ha$ve to

This is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964197)

Voting has nothing to do with aesthetics. The beauty of a photo, painting is not some sort of pixel correlation algorithm it is how humans interpret the image and how they eventually FEEL about it.

Make sure to read the EULA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964321)

Or Professor Oak may use your picture in his Pokemon Report [slashdot.org]

Hokusai's Great Wave... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964397)

Hokusai's Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa... 15.0 points! I say this bit of software stinks. Nice try people, but it's no good. For the terminally bored, feed it the pictures from HaveYouSeenThisMan.com and see what it says. Oh, for reference, the pic I used:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/eye/images/greatwave.jpg [globalsecurity.org]

I wonder how well it fares with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964433)

I wonder how well it fares with images of ladyboys?

Obama vs McCain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964547)

Good thing the software wasn't designed to vote. It gave a picture of Obama a rating of 63.7 and a rating of 84.8 to McCain

Interesting (2, Interesting)

jw3 (99683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964569)

One thing first. There *are* certain esthetic and technical rules / guidelines which are what we could call "objective" in the sense that they are very general. For example, a photograph usually looks better if the composition is balanced, if the 2/3rd (or golden mean) rule is used, the lines in the picture are coherent and lead the eye in the right direction (e.g. towards the subject), if the photograph is correctly exposed, colors matched etc. Of course, some of the greatest photographs break those rules; however, like in many things, you succeed in breaking the rules if you know what you are doing, and you cannot do it very often.

I can imagine that you can come up with an engine that is able to detect how "rule conformant" a given picture is.

However, pure formal esthetic judgement is what we rarely mean when talking about a "good photograph".
There is one main issue that will make it very hard to match our "overall" esthetic sense. Firstly, we are unable to detach the image contents from the "pure form". That means, if we see a worried women holding a child, we cannot just look at that as a composition. Also, we are always considering what we know about the subject. E.g. if we have a photograph of a man standing in water, if the photograph ends just below the place that his legs go into the water, we will have the impression that his legs are cut off, and that there is something wrong about the photograph. Finally, facial expression is immensely important for the perceived esthetics of a photograph.

I did some experimenting -- some of the truly great photographs of our times got rather lousy scores (e.g. Dorothea Lange's famous photograph, but also some color photographs as well), while at the same time rather random shots I did of my sons got even five out of five stars. Well. Maybe it will still be useful to someone to filter out the worse photographs.

j.

Re:Interesting (1)

mikerz (966720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27967249)

I think that one of the greatest fallacies taught about art, is the existence of these "guidelines" and "rules." These things exist only within a very limited context. At the core of it, art is meant to convey truth or raise consciousness. Truth is something representative of the Universe, and the Universe has apparent laws. I think this is the origin of the fallacy. Every "law" in the Universe is the result of the nature of physical reality, as it happens to exist. Every rule or guideline of art is meant to steer a person toward creating better art, but these rules are somewhat arbitrary because the physical nature of the world does not apply to our imagination.

Skewed rating (1)

jw3 (99683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27964599)

Apparently, there is a skewed (high) rating for: white or black frame around the picture and black and white photographs esp. portraits.

j.

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964883)

Something is wrong with this algorithm, this picture scores only 73.4 http://jailbait.4chan.nu/1158384480788.jpg [4chan.nu]

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27964963)

Also it rated one picture two times with different score?!

http://acquine.alipr.com/acquine.php?mine=1&start=0&like=vote&ip=95.87.20

Existing from more than 20 years (1)

readthemall (1531267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965167)

Isn't this exactly the same as the matrix metering [wikipedia.org] introduced in SLR cameras in the eighties? Just instead of calculating recommended exposure you get an estimation.

The principle should be similar - get several thousands of really good pictures that anybody likes. The more, the better. Run analysis for patterns and store the results in a database. And when you need to evaluate a picture, just search for available patterns.

Opinion from Penn State (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 4 years ago | (#27965781)

Being a recent Penn State grad, I am somewhat familiar with the application. One thing they didn't state is that this program has the ability to learn. You can teach the program so that it will change its rating system. The drawbrak... you have to take the time to teach this program which is never fun. And I'm far to lazy so I will never do it. It could be a useful application in some cameras, for the terms for red eye, lighting and clarity.

put this software in a feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27966607)

put this software in a feedback loop, and you can actually make a system that *improves* the quality of a photo :-)

perhaps it's a trick (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 4 years ago | (#27967821)

and this isn't a computer research project at all but rather a sly psychological study trying to gather a collection of images which real humans are aesthetically interested in. ..perhaps correlated by IP / physical region or perhaps correlated to before and after being posted on slashdot.

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