Exploration of Graphical Characteristics and Automatic Stylization in Chinese Painting

By Jing Zhang and Wong Kam-Wah.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is well-known that Chinese painting style is quite different from the general Western painting style. In addition to the differences in terms of perspective, composition and use of color in these two painting styles, general Western painting uses surfaces to structure its frame, while Chinese painting uses lines. For a long time, there was little research aimed at fully exploring these stylistic differences.
Moreover, the available features for stylizing an image in contemporary graphics and animation software have privileged a distinctly Western-style bias. This bias has created difficulties for computer artists who wish to create works using non-Western techniques and visual elements. This research also aims at developing a non-photorealistic graphics program capable of simulating certain styles of Chinese painting, focusing on a case study of a subset of the work of Feng Zikai.
Feng Zikai (1898-1975), a versatile modern Chinese artist, was chiefly known for developing a unique style of Chinese cartoon painting (Manhua) incorporating a combination of Chinese fine arts features and references to Western painting and drawing styles.
This research requires a long-term collaboration between computer scientists and artists and could be divided into three phases: the first phase forms a well practical understanding of the differences between Chinese paintings and general Western styles of paintings, focusing on their visual structures, such as the perspective systems, composition, and colors. The second phase involves a systemic study of the sources, methods, and techniques of Feng’s cartoon paintings; and the last phase is to build computer programs capable of simulating Chinese artistic styles, with Feng’s techniques as an initial attempt. Aside from the potential technical benefits of such study, a comprehensive understanding of the styles of Feng’s work may also participate in a discussion of the relationship between tradition and novelty in the world of art.

Keywords: Chinese Painting, Non-Photorealistic Graphics, Manhua (Cartoon Painting)

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.311-338. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.566MB).

Dr. Jing Zhang

Ph.D. Candidate, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Zhang Jing earned a bachelor’s degree in History (with a minor in Computer Science) from Jilin University (China). She subsequently completed master’s studies in Modern Chinese History from the same university. She came to Hong Kong in 2003 after receiving the Resident Graduate Scholarship from the David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. After moving to the City University of Hong Kong, she earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Media Design and Technology in the School of Creative Media, and is currently a Ph. D. candidate in the School. Jing has been a correspondent for the newspaper Hard Pen Chinese Calligraphy (China) since 1996. Her Chinese calligraphy works won several national awards, and she earned a Chinese Ball Pen Calligraphy (Running Script) qualification (Rank 3) in 1996. She is an Adobe China Certified Designer and Macromedia Qualified Web Designer (2001). Her scholarly interests are most broadly directed at discovering new ways to express the glorious history and culture of China, and her current study interests include research in computer programming aids for 2D and 3D animation, Chinese painting history and theory, moving image production, graphic design, and dynamic web design.

Wong Kam-Wah

Assistant Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Academic Qualifications: PhD in Computer Science, University of Hong Kong Background: Kam Wong received a first-class honors B.Sc. (Computer Studies) degree in 1990, and a Ph.D. degree in 2002, both from the Computer Science Department at the University of Hong Kong. His research area is in computer graphics and animation. Prior to joining the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong in 2002, he worked as a Senior Software Engineer at Centro Digital Pictures Ltd, and during that period he had produced several proprietary software for enhancing the animation production process.

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