Mirror reflections and planar rotations of a picture do not result in any variations concerning the internal geometrical layout of the objects depicted in the picture. We examined to what extent these picture plane transformations gave rise to perceptual differences. A large set of pictures was generated by mirror-reflecting and rotating a set of six original photographs in the picture plane. We externalised the percepts of the depicted objects by using a direct perceptual method: the gauge-figure method. Participants had to adjust a gauge figure so that it seemed to be painted on the surface of the depicted object. From an extensive set of settings collected this way, we computed for each picture the three-dimensional interpretation - or pictorial relief - of the depicted object. On the basis of this set of pictorial reliefs, we addressed the effects of mirror reflections and rotations of pictures on the shape percept of the depicted object.
Mirror-reflecting a picture around the horizontal axis resulted in large differences in pictorial reliefs, whereas mirror-reflecting pictures around the vertical axis resulted in only small differences in pictorial reliefs. Clockwise 90°, 180°, and 270° rotation affected the pictorial relief significantly. In all cases, the differences between the pictorial reliefs could be resolved by affine transformations, and could thus be ascribed to different solutions of the depth ambiguities inherent in pictures.