Perceptual evaluation of maneuvering motion illusion for virtual pedestrians

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Crowd simulations span a wide spectrum of application domains, most notably video games, evacuation scenarios, and the movie industry. However, it is not obligatory that all virtual populace applications have the primary objective of realistic simulation. In most instances, it is necessary and sufficient that viewers perceive the crowd as plausible. Even for a crowd consisting of agents navigating on linear trajectories without any maneuvers, visual motion illusion elicited by these trajectories might appear to be a natural consequence, causing them to be perceived as wriggling rather than straight. In this respect, we evaluate in this study whether simulated 3D human agents walking with constant, collision-free velocities, induce such a maneuvering motion illusion, aiming toward an efficient real-time crowd simulation. For this purpose, we recorded videos of virtual human crowds with different parameter combinations, such as the agent walking speed, crowd density, camera tilt angle, and camera distance. These videos were watched by human subjects who were instructed to mark the virtual agents who they thought had changed their gait directions. The analyzed results revealed that participants claimed the presence of maneuvering virtual agents in the videos, even though there were none in any of them. Spatial grouping of the markings highlighted that the participants mainly focused on the central area of the simulation environment, and spatiotemporal analysis of the click data also showed stronger evidence to such an illusion (see accompanying video). Furthermore, we found that all of the referred parameters have statistically significant main effects on the number of marked agents per watched video.

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Correspondence to Oner Barut.

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Barut, O., Haciomeroglu, M. & Akcapinar Sezer, E. Perceptual evaluation of maneuvering motion illusion for virtual pedestrians. Vis Comput 34, 1119–1128 (2018).

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  • Perception
  • Motion illusion
  • Crowd simulation
  • Ambient crowd