CS129 Final Project: Video Textures

Ryan Cabeen, cabeen@cs

Spring 2011


In this project, an algorithm for creating video textures was implemented and applied to several datasets. This method produces a visual medium between a photograph and a video. It's similar to video in that it consists of time-based visual information, but is also similar to a photograph in that it produces visual information which is static, in a sense. Essentially, it computes video sequence that is similar to an example video, but can run continuously for an indefinite amount of time without exactly repeating itself. The site for the original publication can be found here.

Specifically, the program implemented in this project takes an example video and produces a video texture with a specified number of frames that is similar to the original but consisting of probabilistic transitions between frames of the original.


This sections outlines the implementation details. As an overview, the implemented program takes an example video, a number of texture frames to generate and a parameter for controlling smoothness of transitions. The program was implemented in C using the OpenCV library and a random number library. Most common video formats are supported through OpenCV's platform-specific backend video library.

The raw representation of the input video is a sequence of RGB images. However, the raw video may be higher resolution than needed by the algorithm. For the sake of efficiency, the video is resized to be at most 1024 * 768 pixels and grayscale. Furthermore, brigntness and contrast are made uniform by subtracting the mean and dividing by the variance across pixels for each frame.

The distance between each image pair is found by the sum of the squares of pixel intensity differences (SSD). These distances are stored in a matrix. To account for scene dynamics, these distances are filtered by an even-sized diagonal filter with binomial weights. Dead end correction was implemented, but stability issues kept it from being used to generate the results.

Next, these distances were mapped to probabilities. The exponential of the negative of the distances was used, which continuously maps the positive reals to the unit interval. This ensures that large distances are represented by small probabilities and small distances are representedby large probabilities. Scaling the distances by a scalar before hand can be used to smooth out the distribution, giving more or less weight to high probability pairings. The value of smoothing parameter sigma used was chosen as a constant times the mean of the non-zero distances measurements over the entire set of pairings. To create a probabilitiy distribution (PDF), each row was normalized to sum to one. The resulting distribution measures how probable a transition is from a given frame (except the last) to every other.

Next, the probability distributions a mapped to cumulative distribution functions (CDFs), which can be conveniently and effieciently sampled. Each CDF was found by sorting the transitions by their probability and taking the cumulative sum of the result. The resulting CDFs can be sampled by computing a uniformly random value over the unit interval and finding the transition with the smallest cumulative sum greater than the random value.

The video texture is then computed by choosing a random frame, excluding the last, and sampling the probability distribution at each successive frame. This defines a sequence of frames that can be used to construct the video texture. The original video is used to choose the frames, as only the sequence is needed from the probabilistic representation of the texture.


Overall, the results were positive. Despite excluding dead-end correction, there were no problems with freezes in the textures. Periodic videos seemed to produce good textures, but aperiodic ones produced more chaotic-looking results. For each test case, 1000 frames were sampled from a random initial frame with sigma equal to 0.01.

The first dataset tested was a clock provided by the authors of the original paper on their website. The input video (left) and video texture (right) are shown below:

The distances (left), filtered distances (middle), and probabilities (right) are shown below, where values increase from blue to red and each row and column represents a frame. Notice the reduction in intensity on one of the diagonals of the filtered image and the inversion of intensities on the probability map.

Two other test are presented here. The first is a video of a high resolution butterfly, and the other is a time-lapse of mountains and clouds. The butterfly is very convincing, but the mountains tended to be more erratic. This is likely due to the lack of periodicity and the shadows in the mountain scene.