New method to assemble story-driven photo albums


Researchers at Disney have developed a new automated method that can arrange your vacation photos into a coherent album to create a compelling visual story.

The method developed by a team led by Leonid Sigal, senior research scientist at Disney Research, attempts to not only select photos based on quality and relevance, but also to order them in a way that makes narrative sense.

The team looked at ways of arranging vacation photos into a coherent album. Previous efforts on automated album creation have relied on arranging photos based largely on chronology and geo-tagging, Sigal noted.

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But when four people were asked to choose and assemble five-photo albums that told a story, the researchers noted that these individuals took photos out of chronological order about 40 per cent of the time.

Subsequent preference testing showed people preferred these annotated albums over those chosen randomly or those based on chronology.

To create a computerised system capable of creating a compelling visual story, the researchers built a model that could create albums based on variety of photo features, including the presence or absence of faces and their spatial layout; overall scene textures and colours; and the aesthetic quality of each image.

Their model also incorporated learned rules for how albums are assembled, such as preferences for certain types of photos to be placed at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of albums.

The researchers used a machine learning algorithm to enable the system to learn how humans use those features and what rules they use to assemble photo albums.

The training sets used for this purpose were created for the study from thousands of photos from Flickr.

These included 63 image collections in five topic areas: trips to Disney theme parks, beach vacations and trips to London, Paris and Washington.

Each collection was annotated by four people, who were asked to assemble five-photo albums that told stories and to group images into sets of near duplicates.

Once the system learned the principles of selecting and ordering photos, it was able to compose photo albums from unordered and untagged collections of photos.

First Published: Jan 11 2015 | 4:11 PM IST

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