Large-Scale Painting of Photographs by Interactive Optimization

1ETH Zurich 2Disney Research 3Columbia University 4Dartmouth College

In Computers & Graphics, 2016

Our device and real-time optimization enables spray painting murals of any input photograph. We track the user's movements and simulate the spraying process to choose the optimal amount of paint to spray in order to best approximate the input image.


We propose a system for painting large-scale murals of arbitrary input photographs. To that end, we choose spray paint, which is easy to use and affordable, yet requires skill to create interesting murals. An untrained user simply waves a programmatically actuated spray can in front of the canvas. Our system tracks the can's position and determines the optimal amount of paint to disperse to best approximate the input image. We accurately calibrate our spray paint simulation model in a pre-process and devise optimization routines for run-time paint dispersal decisions. Our setup is light-weight: it includes two webcams and QR-coded cubes for tracking, and a small actuation device for the spray can, attached via a 3D-printed mount. The system performs at haptic rates, which allows the user – informed by a visualization of the image residual – to guide the system interactively to recover low frequency features. We validate our pipeline for a variety of grayscale and color input images and present results in simulation and physically realized murals.


Supplemental Video

Text Reference

Romain Prévost, Alec Jacobson, Wojciech Jarosz, Olga Sorkine-Hornung. Large-Scale Painting of Photographs by Interactive Optimization. Computers & Graphics, 55:108–117, April 2016.

BibTex Reference

    author = "Prévost, Romain and Jacobson, Alec and Jarosz, Wojciech and Sorkine-Hornung, Olga",
    title = "Large-Scale Painting of Photographs by Interactive Optimization",
    journal = "Computers \& Graphics",
    volume = "55",
    month = "April",
    year = "2016",
    pages = "108–117",
    doi = "10.1016/j.cag.2015.11.001"