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J Vis. 2007 Sep 21;7(12):9.1-16.

The effects of viewing angle, camera angle, and sign of surface curvature on the perception of three-dimensional shape from texture.

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Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Computational models for determining three-dimensional shape from texture based on local foreshortening or gradients of scaling are able to achieve accurate estimates of surface relief from an image when it is observed from the same visual angle with which it was photographed or rendered. These models produce conflicting predictions, however, when an image is viewed from a different visual angle. An experiment was performed to test these predictions, in which observers judged the apparent depth profiles of hyperbolic cylinders under a wide variety of conditions. The results reveal that the apparent patterns of relief from texture are systematically underestimated; convex surfaces appear to have greater depth than concave surfaces, large camera angles produce greater amounts of perceived depth than small camera angles, and the apparent depth-to-width ratio for a given image of a surface is greater for small viewing angles than for large viewing angles. Because these results are incompatible with all existing computational models, a new model is presented based on scaling contrast that can successfully account for all aspects of the data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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