Canonical views of scenes depend on the shape of the space


When recognizing or depicting objects, people show a preference for particular “canonical” views. Are there similar preferences for particular views of scenes? We investigated this question using panoramic images, which show a 360-degree view of a location. Observers used an interactive viewer to explore the scene and select the best view. We found that agreement between observers on the “best” view of each scene was generally high. We attempted to predict the selected views using a model based on the shape of the space around the camera location and on the navigational constraints of the scene. The model performance suggests that observers select views which capture as much of the surrounding space as possible, but do not consider navigational constraints when selecting views. These results seem analogous to findings with objects, which suggest that canonical views maximize the visible surfaces of an object, but are not necessarily functional views.

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