Mona Lisa Alive: Create Self-moving Objects Using Hollow-face Illusion

Jing Tong1     Ligang Liu2     Jin Zhou3     Zhigeng Pan4 
  1Hohai University  
  2University of Science and Technology of China  
  3Hangzhou Dianzi University  
  4Hangzhou Normal University  

The Visual Computer (Proc. CGI), 29(6-8): 535-544, 2013

Mona Lisa's mysterious smile created by using our method. The generated static painting looks similar to the original one when looking perpendicularly (a). However, when looking at the painting at different viewpoints, the expression of Mona Lisa's face may seem sadder or happier as shown in (b) and (c), and Mona Lisa's eyes may look around as shown in (d) and (e).




This paper presents a novel approach for creating self-moving objects using hollow-face illusion. Given a clip of character animation, our approach generates a static object. Looking at the object at different views, the similar deformation can be observed. To accomplish this challenging mission, we give qualitative and quantitative analysis of hollow-face illusion. Methodology in computer vision and human perception are utilized to design the algorithm. A static object is firstly generated to satisfy the relative motion illusion constraints. The illusion is then strengthened by back projecting the object to the 3D face space. Considering both 'bottom-up' visual signal and 'top-down' knowledge, the intended illusion can be generated. Experiments have shown the effectiveness of our algorithm. For example, expression varying illusion on an oil painting can be created by our method. The self-moving objects can be used in applications such as design, entertainment, advertisement and public safety.

Keywords Hollow-face illusion; Non-realistic modeling; Geometric modeling; Human perception
Paper PDF (5.3M)

What is illusion?

More about visual illusion: 105 Visual Phenomena & Optical Illusions

We were inspired from the Dragon Illusion (video).



The generated static bunny using our algorithm, which seems to turn its head when the viewpoint changes.

3D printing of some experiment results (see live captured video)


Data Experimental data (1M)
Video Demo(*.avi) (38M)
Presentation PPT (2.3M)

We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. We thank Yu Shi and Linlin Xu for their help on the experiments. This work was supported jointly by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (61202284, 61170318, 61070071, 61222206).

BibTex @article {Tong:CGI2013,
    title = {Mona Lisa alive: Create self-moving objects using hollow-face illusion},
    author = {Jing Tong and Ligang Liu and Jin Zhou and Zhigeng Pan }
    journal = {The Visual Computer (Proc. of Computer Graphics International)},
    volume = {29},
    number = {6-8},
    pages =
    year = {2013}

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