Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New tool makes a single picture worth far more than a thousand words

Date:
August 14, 2014
Source:
University of California - Berkeley
Summary:
A photo is worth a thousand words, but what if the image could also represent thousands of other images? New software seeks to tame the sea of visual data in the world by generating a single photo that can represent massive clusters of images.

Users can use the tool to focus on images in which President Obama appears over Stephen Colbert’s shoulder, and then observe Colbert’s typical body posture among those results.
Credit: Jun-Yan Zhu, Yong Jae Lee and Alexei Efros, UC Berkeley

A photo is worth a thousand words, but what if the image could also represent thousands of other images?

Related Articles


New software developed by UC Berkeley computer scientists seeks to tame the vast amount of visual data in the world by generating a single photo that can represent massive clusters of images. This tool can give users the photographic gist of a kid on Santa's lap, housecats, or brides and grooms at their weddings. It works by generating an image that literally averages the key features of the other photos.

Users can also give extra weight to specific features to create subcategories and quickly sort the image results. In this way, blue-winged butterflies or orange tabby cats might rise to the top of photo collections.

The research, led by Alexei Efros, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, was presented Aug. 14 at the International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, or SIGGRAPH, in Vancouver, Canada.

The authors noted that since photography was invented, there have been an estimated 3.5 trillion photos taken, including 10 percent within the past year. Facebook reports 6 billion photo uploads per month on its site, and YouTube gets 72 hours of video uploaded every minute.

"Visual data is among the biggest of Big Data," said Efros, who is also a member of the UC Berkeley Visual Computing Lab. "We have this enormous collection of images on the Web, but much of it remains unseen by humans because it is so vast. People have called it the dark matter of the Internet. We wanted to figure out a way to quickly visualize this data by systematically 'averaging' the images."

Efros worked with Jun-Yan Zhu, UC Berkeley computer science graduate student and the paper's lead author, and Yong Jae Lee, former UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher, to develop the system, which they have dubbed AverageExplorer.

The researchers provided examples of potential applications of this system, such as in online shopping, where a consumer may want to quickly home in on two-inch wedge heels in the perfect shade of red. Or perhaps media analysts would like to see Stephen Colbert's typical body posture when the face of President Barack Obama appears in the graphic over his shoulder.

Lee, now an assistant professor in computer sciences at UC Davis, said the system could also be used to help improve the ability of computer vision systems to distinguish key features in an image, such as the tires on a car or the eyes on a face. When users mark those features on an average image, the entire collection of images is automatically annotated as well.

"In computer vision, annotations are used to train a system to detect objects, so you might mark the eyes, nose and mouth to teach the computer what a human face looks like," said Lee. "Lots of data is needed to accurately train the system, so reducing the amount of effort and time to do this is critical. Instead of annotating each image individually, with AverageExplorer, we only need to annotate the average image, and the system will automatically propagate the annotations to the image collection."

The researchers were inspired by artists like James Salavon, who has created average images from hundreds of photos of kids with Santa, newlyweds or baseball players to illustrate a concept. Average images can provide interesting insights, such as the convention in Western culture for brides to wear white and stand to the right of the groom in formal portraits, or for youth baseball players to get down on one knee in their official photo.

Many of the manual steps Salavon used to sort and align his images are now automated through the UC Berkeley tool.

Funding from Google, Adobe and the Office of Naval Research helped support this work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Berkeley. The original article was written by Sarah Yang. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Berkeley. "New tool makes a single picture worth far more than a thousand words." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814192354.htm>.
University of California - Berkeley. (2014, August 14). New tool makes a single picture worth far more than a thousand words. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814192354.htm
University of California - Berkeley. "New tool makes a single picture worth far more than a thousand words." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814192354.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins