CSE 457

Introduction to Computer Graphics
1998 Fall Quarter

Project 1: Impressionist


Impressionist painting of Mt. Rainier

Project 1: Impressionist

Assigned: Monday, 12 October 1998
Due: Monday 26 October 1998
Artifact: Wednesday 28 October 1998


Project Description

Impressionist is an interactive program that creates pictures that look like impressionistic paintings. It is based on a paper and a program by Paul Haeberli. You can find a Java implementation of his program here.

To create an impressionistic picture, the user loads an existing image and paints a seqence of "brush strokes" onto a blank pixel canvas. These brush strokes pick up color from the original image, giving the look of a painting. To see some samples that were generated with the sample solution, click here.

Project Objective

You will add the functionality to a skeleton version of the Impressionist program, which we will provide. The purpose of this project is to give you experience working with image manipulation, OpenGL primitives, user-interface design, and image processing.

Getting Started

Click here to retrieve a zipped copy of the skeleton program source code. Open Impressionist.dsw to build and run the program from within Developer Studio.

Explanation of the Skeleton Program

The skeleton program we provide does very little. It allows you to load the original image (which must be a 24-bit uncompressed BMP file), and save the painted version. Brush selection is done via a modeless dialog ("File/Brushes..."). There is one brush implemented (points) and a slider for controlling the brush size.

You can find some sample input images in the BMP format here.

Required Extensions

You must add the following features to the Impressionist program:
  1. Implement 5 different brush types: single line, scattered lines, scattered points, (filled) circles, and scattered (filled) circles.
  2. Add sliders to control various brush attributes. You need to include sliders for the line thickness and brush angle, in addition to the existing brush size slider.
  3. Add the ability to control the brush direction. The stroke direction should be controlled four different ways: using a slider value, using the right mouse button to drag out a direction line, using the direction of the cursor movement, and using directions that are perpendicular to the gradient of the image. You can use a radio box to allow the user to select which method to use.
  4. Allow the user to change the opacity (alpha value) of the brush stroke.
To see what these features should look like when they're done, you can look at the sample solution here. Your implementations of brush strokes, brush direction controls, etc. do not have to behave exactly the same as the sample solution, but they should be fairly close. Also, note that the sample solution does more than you are required to do (i.e., it implements some of the bells and whistles).

Project Artifact

When you are done with this project, you will create a project "artifact" to show off the features of your program. For the Impressionist artifact, you will create an impressionistic painting from an image of your choice. We will then create a gallery of all the paintings on the course web page.

Bells and Whistles

Here is a list of suggestions for extending the program. You may also think up and implement some of your own extensions.

[whistle] To give your paintings more variety, add some additional brush types to the program. These brush strokes should be substantially different from those you are required to implement. You will get one whistle for each new brush.


[whistle] The skeleton program allows the user to paint outside the boundary of the paint rectangle, then erases this region when the stroke is completed. Change this to clip brush strokes to the region as they're being painted.


[whistle] When using your program, you currently can't see what part of the original image you're painting. Extend the program so that when you're making a brush stroke, a marker appears on the original image showing where you're painting.


[bell+whistle] A different solution to the problem of not being able to see where you're painting is to show a dimmed version of the painting on the canvas. Add a slider that allows the user to fade in or fade out the original image beneath the user's brush strokes on the canvas. (Beware, this bell and whistle is more difficult than it looks).


[bell+whistle] To make your painting more interesting, add "alpha-mapped" brush strokes. In other words, allow the user to load a bitmap representing a brush stroke. This bitmap would contain an alpha value at each position. Then when this brush is used to draw, a single color would be selected from the image, all pixels in the brush bitmap would be set to this RGB color (without changing the alpha value), and this partially transparent bitmap would be painted on the canvas. A new color would be used each time the brush is drawn.


[bell+whistle] It can be time-consuming to paint an image manually. Add a feature so that a whole painting can be created automatically. The user should only have to specify a brush type, size, and angle to use. Then the program should automatically paint brush strokes over the entire image, using a randomized brush order and varying the brush attributes slightly as it goes (to increase realism).


[bell+whistle] At times, you may want the brush strokes to follow the gradient of a different image than the base image. Add a button(s) that will cause the direction of brush strokes to be automatically determined from a user specified image.


[bell+whistle] The "accuracy" of the painting can be also be improved by clipping long brush strokes to edges in the image. Allow the user to load a black-and-white image that represents the edges in the picture. Then add a checkbox so that the user can turn on edge-clipping, which will automatically clip brush strokes at edges in the image.


[bell] [bell] Use the image processing techniques described in class to automatically find the edges in the base image. Once you have found the edges, add a button to the user interface that will allow the user to select whether or not the brush strokes should be clipped to the edges in the picture.


[bell] [bell] Implement a multiresolution automatic painting technique. See Painterly Styles for Expressive Rendering.


[bell] [bell] Implement a curved brush that follows the image gradient. See Painterly Styles for Expressive Rendering.


[bell] [bell] [bell] [bell] Extend the Impressionist program to work with video. The user should be able to load a series of images from a video and set up some initial parameters, and the program should automatically generate an impressionistic version of the video. The video should exhibit temporal coherency.