Photo2ClipArt: Image Abstraction and Vectorization Using Layered Linear Gradients
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Photo2ClipArt: Image Abstraction and Vectorization Using Layered Linear Gradients

ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH Asia Conference Proceedings), Volume 36, Number 6 - November 2017
Download the publication : photo2clipart.pdf [15.5Mo]  
We present a method to create vector cliparts from photographs. Our approach aims at reproducing two key properties of cliparts: they should be easily editable, and they should represent image content in a clean, simplified way. We observe that vector artists satisfy both of these properties by modeling cliparts with linear color gradients, which have a small number of parameters and approximate well smooth color variations. In addition, skilled artists produce intricate yet editable artworks by stacking multiple gradients using opaque and semi-transparent layers. Motivated by these observations, our goal is to decompose a bitmap photograph into a stack of layers, each layer containing a vector path filled with a linear color gradient. We cast this problem as an optimization that jointly assigns each pixel to one or more layer and finds the gradient parameters of each layer that best reproduce the input. Since a trivial solution would consist in assigning each pixel to a different, opaque layer, we complement our objective with a simplicity term that favors decompositions made of few, semi-transparent layers. However, this formulation results in a complex combinatorial problem combining discrete unknowns (the pixel assignments) and continuous unknowns (the layer parameters). We propose a Monte Carlo Tree Search algorithm that efficiently explores this solution space by leveraging layering cues at image junctions. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method by reverse-engineering existing cliparts and by creating original cliparts from studio photographs.

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You can download the .svg version of all our results.

We also provide a Windows executable that you can try on your own images.

BibTex references

  author       = "Favreau, Jean-Dominique and Lafarge, Florent and Bousseau, Adrien",
  title        = "Photo2ClipArt: Image Abstraction and Vectorization Using Layered Linear Gradients",
  journal      = "ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH Asia Conference Proceedings)",
  number       = "6",
  volume       = "36",
  month        = "November",
  year         = "2017",
  url          = ""

Other publications in the database

» Jean-Dominique Favreau
» Florent Lafarge
» Adrien Bousseau