9 Jan 2005 dcoombs   » (Master)


I went to see a movie yesterday, and discovered something neat while watching the pre-movie slideshow. They have these trivia questions about actors where they give clues next to a pixelized mosaic picture of the actor's face, and with eachclue the mosaic gets a little less coarse and more recognizable as a human face. Hopefully you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, it so happens that I am rather nearsighted, just like almost everyone else in this industry. I found that an unrecognizable jumble of coloured squares, when viewed without my glasses, looks just like a human face. My brain started filling in all sorts of features (hairstyles, noses, ears) that, I swear, could not possibly have been represented with squares as big as they were using. And subsequent finer pixelizations showed that my brain was almost never wrong.

I flipped back and forth, glasses and no glasses, about ten times per picture, and was amazed how much more detail I could "see" without them. Crazy.

So today I tried to reproduce this effect using GIMP. I took a picture of my face and pixelized it until it was completely unrecognizable. Without glasses, *poink* there I am. Excellent. Glasses on, I tried various ways of blurring the image. Results were disappointing. It looked more recognizable than without the blurring, certainly, but I wasn't getting the same amazing interpolation my brain is apparently capable of.

Why? I don't know. Magic, I guess.

Oh, and the movie was excellent.

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