Rule of Thirds Detection from Photograph

Long Mai, Hoang Le, Yuzhen Niu, and Feng Liu

Department of Computer Science, Portland State University

The copyright of this photo belongs to Flickr user Stuck in Customs 

The rule of thirds is one of the most important composition rules used by photographers to create high-quality photos. The rule of thirds states that placing important objects along the imagery thirds lines or around their intersections often produces highly aesthetic photos. In this paper, we present a method to automatically determine whether a photo respects the rule of thirds. Detecting the rule of thirds from a photo requires semantic content understanding to locate important objects, which is beyond the state of the art. This paper makes use of the recent saliency and generic objectness analysis as an alternative and accordingly designs a range of features. Our experiment with a variety of saliency and generic objectness methods shows that an encouraging performance can be achieved in detecting the rule of thirds from photos.
Long Mai, Hoang Le, Yuzhen Niu, and Feng Liu. Rule of Thirds Detection from Photograph.
IEEE ISM 2011, Dana Point, CA, USA, December 2011. PDF
Related Paper
Long Mai, Hoang Le, Yuzhen Niu, Yu-chi Lai, and Feng Liu. Detecting Rule of Simplicity from Photos.
ACM Multimedia 2012, Nara, Japan, October 2012. (short paper) PDF Website

Yuzhen Niu and Feng Liu. What Makes a Professional Video? A Computational Aesthetics Approach. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology. Vol. 22, Issue 7, 2012: 1037 - 1049. PDF
Rule of Thirds Image Set
Below is the image collection used in our paper. It contains 2089 images that respect the rule of thirds and 2051 images that do not. This collection includes images from Flickr and For copyright issue, we only include the actual urls of the images. If you use this image set in your paper, please cite our paper.
Rule of thirds image set