Ways of Seeing: an Eye-tracking Study of Natural Viewing Behavior Towards Paintings
Authors: Saptarshi Kolay, Bhavya Sihmar, Mahua Mukherjee
Abstract: Interpretation of paintings is dependent on the visual saliency and focal points created in a painting. The self-expression of artist is perceived through the eyes of viewer to create a meaningful visual interpretation. It is important to know eye fixation points of viewer’s gaze behaviour coincides with the focal points created by the artist in a painting. The goal of this study is to analyse the natural viewing behaviour towards paintings, by tracking the eye movements of the human subjects when exposed to various paintings of different art movements. This study will deal with individual variations in perceptions related to the characteristics of the pictures. This visual data is generated through eye-tracking technology and articulated with the help of gaze plots, heat maps of eye movements of the human subjects. The paintings are categorized into two segments. One with distinct and hierarchical focal points and the other segment consists of paintings with more crystallographic balance and tessellations. Distinct variation of gaze behaviour is observed between these two different segments of paintings. The traditional theories of creation of focal points and principles of designs are correlated with the eye-tracking study. The study also attempts to focuses on the visual hierarchy within a painting and how the viewers’ eye movement it corresponding to the same. The outcome of the experiment shows the correlation of focal points on a two-dimensional static visual stimuli, i.e. paintings in the experiment, with the viewers’ gaze behaviour. This correlation can also be implemented into other form of two dimensional visual arts, like, graphic design, digital arts, poster design, etc.
Keywords: Gaze behavior, Focal point, Eye Tracking, Painting, Visual saliency
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