Optimizing water simulation for visual effects through perception studies

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Anders Heilemann
4. term, Medialogy, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis investigates if the presence of objects related to the story of a video affects the perceived quality of a background environment, such as a water simulation. The aim was to provide guidelines for small- to mid-sized visual effects studios, in order for them to optimize the performance of their water simulations.
A theory was created based on the existing theories of inattentional blindness and guided search, stating that the more important an object in the scene was to the story, the more attention it would receive. Consequently the environment around the elements important to the story would receive less attention.
Four videos with the same scene setup with a river flowing towards a waterfall were created; two in low simulation quality and two in high. One of each had a boat flowing down the river. The theory stated that in the videos with the boat, the test subjects would not notice the quality of the water as much.
The results partially confirmed the theory, the test subjects rated the quality of the water equal in the low quality version with and without the boat. However the majority of test subjects commented that the presence of the boat had an influence on their ability to remember the quality of the boat.
The thesis concludes that inattentional blindness is indeed relevant for the production of computer graphics, however to know exactly its impact, more investigations still need to be made.
Publication date3 Oct 2011
Number of pages46
ID: 56062494