> My own eye-tracking. Sunset at Skagen.

This is a non-academic publication, on blog -level. The article emanates from my private thoughts about picture composition in relation to what the eye registers.

I collect material for a book about image composition. The book is partly based on established rules of composition, but with variations in images that has been manipulated. Furthermore, it is to contain my homemade eye-tracking to show what the eye cares about.

This article is a test that circles around a picture of a few people at a beach on a summer evening.
In this test case I do not show possible options in the composition of the picture, but only shows the results of an eye-tracking session in which three people took part. I displayed the test picture at two occasions, about 15 mins apart.
Using only three test persons, myself included, is unscientific. If you want to be able to prove something with certainty, you should have at least a group of 30 people or more. But – I am at the moment more interested in qualitative differences in how we read pictures.
Therefore this little test may give some interesting reflections and insights which can be used for further investigations.

The image has some various aspects;
– It show an evening by the sea, which you can associate with calm and pleasantness
– The people in the picture seems to be in a different state of mind, the person in the wheelchair with two people around in one mood, while the young people on the right seems playful.
– One can’t see the faces and the expressions.
– Image composition is simple and clean with no distractions. The image is centred on the group of people.

During the test, the picture was displayed for 8 seconds. The image was part of a test suite of 34 different images. (about eye-tracking)

The eye-tracking results of each test person is shown and a heat-map where the results of all three are combined. Further down in the article you can find recordings of the eye movements.
The test involved a girl of 9 years, a man of 60 years and me (61 years) who have taken the image and selected it. The girl nine years, is not particularly interested in pictures. The man of 60 years, is interested in film and video, but do not work in the field. I (Bengt) is an expert in pictures – that is, self-appointed.

Wheelchair – sunset at Skagen

An image that opens up for different personal interpretations depending on the viewer’s own state of mind, background and experience.

Combined heat maps
Heat-maps of; girl nine years, man 60, me 61 and a combined of all three.

The picture above shows the three persons focus in the picture. The last picture labelled “All 3 combined” shows the total focus of the three test persons.
The heat maps show diverse interest for the image, some focus more on the group, others show more interest for the environment around the group.

Below are three videos, each of which replays how the eyes wandered around while the persons looked at the picture. The film shows in which order the image was watched, and in what way it happened.
The entire sequence of 8 seconds is shown. Usually, the first 2 – 3 seconds are interesting while one tries to understand the picture before exploring it more thoroughly.
In the films, we see how jerky the eyes sees, which is called saccades.

Eye-tracking, girl nine years. Test 1 and 2.

Eye-tracking, man 60 years. Test 1 and 2.

Eye-tracking, Bengt, author, age 61. Test one and two.

An extra test, an artist (only one test run).

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