Synthesis of Environment Maps for Mixed Reality


When rendering virtual objects in a mixed reality application, it is helpful to have access to an environment map that captures the appearance of the scene from the perspective of the virtual object. It is straightforward to render virtual objects into such maps, but capturing and correctly rendering the real components of the scene into the map is much more challenging. This information is often recovered from physical light probes, such as reflective spheres or fisheye cameras, placed at the location of the virtual object in the scene.

For many application areas, however, real light probes would be intrusive or impractical. Ideally, all of the information necessary to produce detailed environment maps could be captured using a single device. We introduce a method using an RGBD camera and a small fisheye camera, contained in a single unit, to create environment maps at any location in an indoor scene. The method combines the output from both cameras to correct for their limited field of view and the displacement from the virtual object, producing complete environment maps suitable for rendering the virtual content in real time. Our method improves on previous probeless approaches by its ability to recover high-frequency environment maps. We demonstrate how this can be used to render virtual objects which shadow, reflect and refract their environment convincingly.

Title: Synthesis of Environment Maps for Mixed Reality

Authors: Walton, D., Thomas, D., Steed, A., and Sugimoto, A.

Publication: International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) 

Year: 2017

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