Xerox Working on Algorithm That Can Judge the Aesthetics of Photos

Xerox is showing off a new tool called Aesthetic Image Search over on Open Xerox (the Xerox equivalent of Google Labs). It’s an algorithm being developed at one of the company’s labs that aims to make judging a photograph’s aesthetics something a computer can do.

Many methods for image classification are based on recognition of parts — if you find some wheels and a road, then the picture is more likely to contain a car than a giraffe. But what about quality? What is it about a picture of a building or a flower or a person that makes the image stand out from the hundreds which are taken with a digital camera every day? Here we tackle the difficult task of trying to learn automatically what makes an image special, and makes photo enthusiasts mark it as high quality.

You can play around with a simple demo of the technology here. Don’t tell the Long Beach Police Department about it though — they might use it against photographers.

Aesthetic Image Search (via Quesabesde)

  • Rusty Shackleford

    They can shorthand the process by just marking all pictures on Deviant Art as bad.

  • Alex Toulemonde

    The link “simple demo of the technology here” is redirecting us to a png.. 

  • f2point8

    I tried it. It’s a terrible image.

  • Guest

    The “bird” category shows a giraffe, a woman in kimono, an old man and a beetle. The last photo in the “good” group shows a pond, with a sliced off duck.

  • f2point8

    I found it and ran the demo. It seems the point seems to not really concentrate on “make judging a photograph’s aesthetics something a computer can do.” My impression is that is will allow people to state the qualities they are looking for. Look at the demo example for flowers, “…our algorithm will detect pictures as ‘good’ if the subject fills the entire frame. We can also see that the flowers are bright with a dark background to achieve maximum impact.” We can tweak the statement to say the subject fills the bottom half and has a high contrast background. Or whatever. It’s another search tool. Then we teach it to evaluate image metadata, environmental variables, and people’s reaction. Good stuff from Xerox. I just hope they don’t give it away to Apple this time.

  • Vgyoda

    Can someone run Gursky’s photo through this?

  • Justwingingit

    Prof. James Z. Wang and his group have been at that idea for several years now: out their work here:

  • machineOne

    one step closer to turning us into machines….
    face detection and a computer that can judge aesthetic –> who needs a photographer?

  • Michael Zhang

    Whoops, fixed that. Thanks

  • Sadisticbuttrue

    I thought the one on the right hand side (top row 2nd in) was actually Rhine. 

  • Daschund

    That was the first thing that came to my mind… LOL

  • Sadisticbuttrue

    So, you’re that guy on youtube who always comments ‘first’?

  • Sebastián Soto

    You really know deviantART, don’t you?

  • Anthony Burokas

    That “bad” photo is slightly tilted so it’s only worth 2.6 million.

  • Anthony Burokas

    Somebody’s still got to take the pictures…

  • Justwingingit

    It was a valid comment that I made that added to the story.  Get a life.

  • David

    Siri won’t take pictures. Yet.

  • Divadoof

    Thank you for telling us the obvious. By the way…did you say something?

  • divad

    thanks for telling us the obvious.

  • divad

    Wow..tell us more about the….obvious.