Category Archives: Visual representation of power (2014/L4)

Visual Representation of Power in Paintings (L4) – Project Progress 3

In this stage, while we are trying to accumulate more annotation for all the paintings, which potentially can represent Venetian power system, we has noticed a real lack of easy-and-open access resources and documents for understanding  those paintings. The paintings often have a lot of information and meanings, encoded in their details such as people’s costumes, accessories and even the pattern different objects in the scene interact with each other.

Thus, to fully comprehend the works for a total newbie, it requires more than a simple effort of observing and  searching for explanation but also the solid understanding of the system and related conventions shown in the paintings. Opt one that we have worked intensively on for this project ‘Procession in Piazza San Marco’  [1] as  an example, to understand it, we can only lean on a non-free and offline book Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Muir, 1986) and a Wikipedia page [2] in Italian about Venetian power system. And even with that, it is still very difficult to accurately know the name and role of each object in the paintings.

From our experience, there is a huge barrier for the newbies like us to get hand-on experience in understanding paintings. The online and free access documentation is clearly insufficient while it is not possible get advices and explanation from people who are expert in this field either. It is not limited to this project of visualizing Venetian power system in paintings but for a much broader field of old paintings, it seems that for  amateurs, newbies and even experts, they are lacking an open-access community to share the knowledge, get initial experience and maintain a good documentation for further use.

Therefore, as it is impossible for any individual to help the community, our proposal is to use crowdsourced knowledge. We aim to develop an open and free access annotation system for paintings, which can be annotated by any users in a way that is easiest for non-professional paintings entertainer.

Annotation framework

The idea of crowdsourcing is to attract external users involved in the creation of our visualization. Essentially we facilitate a framework where users can annotate people and items in the available paintings, particularly identify their position in the painting, size, name and description. They can refer to visual examples that are taken from the book Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Muir, 1986) to annotate the right objects in the paintings.

A demo version of our framework can be accessed through the website:

  • Annotate painting: Users can go here to annotate the painting
  • View painting: Users can go here to see the result of their annotation
  • Examples (1 & 2): There are two example annotations of paintings from the book as references for users

The annotations can be evaluated by other users of the framework. We provide a rating system which works in the way of Reddit site [3]. Users can access to views the painting, comments of users about it, and a list of annotations for objects on it. The top annotation of one particular region on the painting would be selected for the display. This functionality is currently under development and will be published in the project demo session.

The UI mockup of the page can be seen in Figure 1. myImage

Figure 1. UI mockup of the voting page

Final schedule

  • Wrap up the functionality of rating annotations
  • Improve the UI of annotation framework
  • Publish the final project report
  • Publish the poster for demo session at DHLab