Inferring artistic intention in comic art through viewer gaze
Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied Perception - SAP '12
a) Comic art from Watchmen (©DC Comics) First three seconds Entire duration First three seconds Entire duration (b) A photograph taken automatically by a roaming robot Figure 1: Eyetracking data from viewers is overlaid on the stimuli images. Each viewer is shown in a different color. The circles are fixation locations and the lines represent saccades. (a) The viewers all attend to the character's face and the yellow object in his hand. (b) There is less consistency in viewer gaze on robot
... graphs, compared to artist-created comic art. The green viewer explores the poster board on the left while the purple viewer prefers the poster on the right side of the photograph, for example. Abstract Comics are a compelling, though complex, visual storytelling medium. Researchers are interested in the process of comic art creation to be able to automatically tell new stories, and also, summarize videos and catalog large collections of photographs for example. A primary organizing principle used by artists to lay out the components of comic art (panels, word bubbles, objects inside each panel) is to lead the viewer's attention along a deliberate visual route that reveals the narrative. If artists are successful in leading viewer attention, then their intended visual route would be accessible through recorded viewer attention, i.e., eyetracking data. In this paper, we conduct an experiment to verify if artists are successful in their goal of leading viewer gaze. We eyetrack viewers on images taken from comic books, as well as photographs taken by experts, amateur photographers and a robot. Our data analyses show that there is increased consistency in viewer gaze for comic pictures versus photographs taken by a robot and by amateur photographers, thus confirming that comic artists do indeed direct the flow of viewer attention.