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  1. The process of capturing a well-composed photo is difficult and it takes years of experience to master. We propose a novel pipeline for an autonomous agent to automatically capture an aesthetic photograph by navigating within a local region in a scene. Instead of classical optimization over heuristics such as the rule-of-thirds, we adopt a data-driven aesthetics estimator to assess photo quality. A reinforcement learning framework is used to optimize the model with respect to the learned aesthetics metric. We train our model in simulation with indoor scenes, and we demonstrate that our system can capture aesthetic photos in both simulation and real world environments on a ground robot. To our knowledge, this is the first system that can automatically explore an environment to capture an aesthetic photo with respect to a learned aesthetic estimator. Source code is at
  2. Al-Kadi, Omar Sultan (Ed.)
    In this paper, we capture and explore the painterly depictions of materials to enable the study of depiction and perception of materials through the artists’ eye. We annotated a dataset of 19k paintings with 200k+ bounding boxes from which polygon segments were automatically extracted. Each bounding box was assigned a coarse material label (e.g., fabric) and half was also assigned a fine-grained label (e.g., velvety, silky). The dataset in its entirety is available for browsing and downloading at . We demonstrate the cross-disciplinary utility of our dataset by presenting novel findings across human perception, art history and, computer vision. Our experiments include a demonstration of how painters create convincing depictions using a stylized approach. We further provide an analysis of the spatial and probabilistic distributions of materials depicted in paintings, in which we for example show that strong patterns exists for material presence and location. Furthermore, we demonstrate how paintings could be used to build more robust computer vision classifiers by learning a more perceptually relevant feature representation. Additionally, we demonstrate that training classifiers on paintings could be used to uncover hidden perceptual cues by visualizing the features used by the classifiers. We conclude that our dataset of painterlymore »material depictions is a rich source for gaining insights into the depiction and perception of materials across multiple disciplines and hope that the release of this dataset will drive multidisciplinary research.« less