Once in a while we get to witness a ground breaking technology that literally changes our way of thinking. This new approach to manipulating photographs is really quite ingeniousness and has applications both in the 3D realm (imagine taking a photograph of your living room and inserting various pieces of furniture to see how well they fit) as well in the world of photography (imagine being able to replace or add items seamlessly into a photograph). You really need to see the following video to fully understand it’s capabilities.
Abstract: We propose a method to realistically insert synthetic objects into existing photographs without requiring access to the scene or any additional scene measurements. With a single image and a small amount of annotation, our method creates a physical model of the scene that is suitable for realistically rendering synthetic objects with diffuse, specular, and even glowing materials while accounting for lighting interactions between the objects and the scene. We demonstrate in a user study that synthetic images produced by our method are confusable with real scenes, even for people who believe they are good at telling the difference. Further, our study shows that our method is competitive with other insertion methods while requiring less scene information. We also collected new illumination and reflectance datasets; renderings produced by our system compare well to ground truth. Our system has applications in the movie and gaming industry, as well as home decorating and user content creation, among others. – Kevin Karsch