Rapid advances in computer technology allow computer screens to be filled with complex visual information at near real time rates. Simulations that once required supercomputers are now commonly run on desktop workstations. However, these advances have done little to help people understand the meaning of their data. The lack of understanding stems from the fact that machines process data in numerical form, while humans more easily comprehend visual data. We rely on graphs and charts to attain information and insight. The research of Professor Gooch, combines computer graphics techniques for creating artistic imagery with the evaluation methods of perceptual psychology in order to enhance the communication capability of computer generated imagery.

Interactive Illustrations for Visualization

In scientific and technical communities, the art of illustration has evolved to enhance visual communication. Professor Gooch seeks to develop interactive illustrations as a step toward optimal data visualization. Previous work of Professor Gooch, in computer generated technical and facial illustrations, demonstrates examples of effective illustration techniques and provides a methodology that will generalize to a broader class of problems. This iterative two-part process consists of using NPR techniques to enhance the presentation of important data features, then conducting perceptual studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the resulting visualization. The strength of this proposal lies in the synergy achieved in the tight coupling of the two research areas. The ability to measure the communication content of a visualization technique through task-centric evaluation, means that empirical methods can be used to establish principles and validate methods.

Perceptually Optimized Displays for Handheld Devices

Left) An image containing three areas of importance, the two boys, and the ball. Center) The source image retargeted to fit a PDA display. Right) The source image retargeted to fit a cell phone display.

Computers are becoming faster, smaller and more interconnected creating a shift in their primary function from computation to communication. Digital cameras and camcorders are making high-quality image acquisition ubiquitous. Advances in display technology allow a range of deployments, from high-definition wall displays to miniature embedded screens. As communication devices and viewing situations become more plentiful, we need imagery that facilitates visual communication across a wide range of display devices. In addition, producing effective and expressive visual content currently requires considerable artistic skill and can consume days. The work of Professor Gooch introduces techniques for automatically retargeting images and animations, that is, for adapting them for display at different sizes and aspect ratios while preserving the recognizability of important image features. This research combines concepts and methods from visual art, perceptual psychology, information processing, and cognitive science to facilitate a viewer in understanding and interpreting computer imagery.