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Search for images by sketching

October 29, 2006

On his blog, Laurent wanted to know who is this guy. I though it was an interesting starting point to see how good is Retrievr, “an experimental service which lets you search and explore in a selection of Flickr images by drawing a rough sketch”.

Although my drawing skills really needs to be improved (and their drawing tools more refined – always blame the others for your weaknesses πŸ˜‰ ), a first sketch gives some interesting results (see screenshot below): 7 retrieved photos (44%) show a b/w human face in “frontal view” (if you count the dog, it’s even 8 correct images).

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If I just give the photo URL, results are not so good (see screenshot below). I am nearly 100% sure that it’s because it’s a greyscale photo scanned as a color image.

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When I upload the image on my harddisk, convert it to a greyscale image and upload it on Retrievr, now it gives more expected results: 10 images show a person with his/her hair (63%), either from the front or from the back.

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So this photo is not among the “most interesting” ones on Flickr (it is even probably not on Flickr). I suppose that if one applies Retrievr on a larger subset of photos, we’ll have a higher probability to find it (but it will also increase noise, i.e. the number similar photos). If you like playing with Flickr, other intersting Flickr mashups can be found here.

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