Painterly depiction of material properties

Mitchell J.P. van Zuijlen, Sylvia C. Pont, Maarten W.A. Wijntjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Painters are masters of depiction and have learned to evoke a clear perception of materials and material attributes in a natural, three-dimensional setting, with complex lighting conditions. Furthermore, painters are not constrained by reality, meaning that they could paint materials without exactly following the laws of nature, while still evoking the perception of materials. Paintings have to our knowledge not been studied on a big scale from a material perception perspective. In this article, we studied the perception of painted materials and their attributes by using human annotations to find instances of 15 materials, such as wood, stone, fabric, etc. Participants made perceptual judgments about 30 unique segments of these materials for 10 material attributes, such as glossiness, roughness, hardness, etc. We found that participants were able to perform this task well while being highly consistent. Participants, however, did not consistently agree with each other, and the measure of consistency depended on the material attribute being perceived. Additionally, we found that material perception appears to function independently of the medium of depiction-the results of our principal component analysis agreed well with findings in former studies for photographs and computer renderings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Material perception
  • material attributes
  • art history
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk


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