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Light Field Photography Is the New Path To 3-D

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the enhance-enhance-enhance dept.

Graphics 79

waderoush writes "In November, Lytro, the maker of the first light field camera for consumers, upgraded its viewer software to enable a feature called 'Perspective Shift.' In addition to refocusing pictures after they've been taken, Lytro audiences can now pivot between different virtual points of view, within a narrow baseline. This 3-D capability was baked into Lytro's technology from the start: 'The light field itself is inherently multidimensional [and] the 2-D refocusable picture that we launched with was just one way to represent that,' says Eric Cheng, Lytro's director of photography. But while Perspective Shift is currently little more than a novelty, the possibilities for future 3-D imaging are startling, especially as Lytro develops future devices with larger sensors — and therefore larger baselines, allowing more dramatic 3-D effects. Cheng says the company is already exploring future versions of its viewer software that would work on 3-D televisions. 'We are moving the power of photography from optics to computation,' he says. 'So when the public really demands 3-D content, we will be ready for it.'"

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Bought a Lytro (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767495)

Returned it.

It was awful, and the resolution wasn't hot

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767609)

While I hope Lytro manages to stay in business - It's nice to have somebody doing something different, they're a long way from any sort of realistic 3D. You're asking for a lot of computational and sensor power to create anything beyond postage stamp images (the major issue with the current Lytro products).

Imagine You Tube videos in 3D - stupid cat pictures without any editing in three dimensions! Yeah!

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767819)

"Imagine You Tube videos in 3D - stupid cat pictures without any editing in three dimensions! Yeah!"

Already there. Fuji had a point and shoot camera that did 3d video. there is a lot of stupid cat 3d youtube videos.

SECURITY APPLICATIONS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42771665)

I've read that the Lytro's main application is in things like security. For example, if you photograph/video-record a crowd, some people/objects will be in focus and some will be out of focus. Lytro's light-field imaging allows you to review the photograph/video later on, and manipulate it to bring different people/objects into focus at different focal-depths.

But as for the benefits of trying to reproduce a 3D effect, I'm not sure what could be gained. Maybe just to make a recording/photo seem more vivid? Perhaps a sort of digital diorama, as a keepsake?

Re:SECURITY APPLICATIONS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42777637)

Yeah, zero security applications. That is fixed already in security cameras. Every security camera I have seen has everything in focus, in fact all the cameras I have here at the house are in focus, same as the ones I find on the internet and I can see from here at work...

Lytro failed at that as well.

3D imagine that may leads to 3D printing !! (2, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767827)

I have a Lytro as well. I know that currently its limitations are so severe that have rendered the Lytro cameras to nothing but a novelty.

Its limitations right now are in the computational power --- it does take a whole lot more computational power to make it useful --- and the HORRENDOUS AMOUNT OF DATA to make it any useful.

But, I still have hope in this 3D imaging thing --- I do not see it as mere toy, I see a future link, in between 3D imagine and 3D printing, and beyond.

Currently, to gather data on 3D imagery we use technologies such as MRI, which in itself not really portable.

The concept behind the Lytro 3D camera may offer us a possible alternative.

Re:3D imagine that may leads to 3D printing !! (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768883)

"Currently, to gather data on 3D imagery we use technologies such as MRI, which in itself not really portable."

We use things like MRI to gather tomographic data. It's for seeing inside. Lytro doesn't do that, and never will.

Currently if you want to do the kind of 3D we're talking about you can buy a Lytro and get low resolution with a lot of data and processing, or you can buy one of the commonly available compact cameras that include two lenses (like this one [dpreview.com] ) and get instant, high res results.

Re:3D imagine that may leads to 3D printing !! (2)

cnettel (836611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770433)

Currently if you want to do the kind of 3D we're talking about you can buy a Lytro and get low resolution with a lot of data and processing, or you can buy one of the commonly available compact cameras that include two lenses (like this one [dpreview.com] ) and get instant, high res results.

To be fair, that gives you stereography, not 3D. From stereography, you can compute, tada, something resembling 3D along a short baseline, i.e. not only showing the image through one of the lenses, but a theoretical image from anywhere close to where they were located. The Lytro is a much more solid way of achieveing that, though, if they can create sensors that are both wide enough and carry enough resolution. Currently, they are a long way off. I would even think that you could put to Lytros in kind of a stereographic configuration and get a baseline extension, kind of like astronomical interferometry arrays. You don't need the light field at all locations and having it some distance away is far more valuable than having each and every pixel in between.

Re:3D imagine that may leads to 3D printing !! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770783)

The Lytro is also effectively doing stereography. Which is fine, because that's how we perceive 3D anyway.

Re:3D imagine that may leads to 3D printing !! (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42773237)

This is just the beginning of a disruptive technology. I don't think the Lytro will necessarily be the answer for consumer products. If you look up "Super Resolution" and the "Pelican slimphone camera array" you'll see that there are emerging technologies that will be at least as effective and collecting both spatial and 3 dimensional data. In fact, its easy to imaging 6 -10 camera arrays being placed on the back of an iPad producing images with higher resolution that a top professional camera, as well as the spacial information needed to produce 3D video, stills and partial models. Just walk around an object and you have all the information to recreate it as a 3D model.

3D Printing, immersive 3D virtual reality, ubiquitous ultrahigh resolution imagery on smart phones, it will change the way we perceive the world.

Re:3D imagine that may leads to 3D printing !! (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42779997)

Bingo, stereo. Not equal to 3D.

Consider a stadium of light field cameras + location + time stamps Crowd source to the cloud and view all the pictures you wish you had taken.

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767863)

They're not really the only player in this space-

LinX Imaging [ http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2012/07/linx-imagings-multi-aperture-camera.html [blogspot.com] ]
Pelican [ http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2012/11/pelican-imaging-capabilities-presented.html [blogspot.com] ]

Is starting to be applied to high-precision 3D measurement:
Raytrix [ http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2012/12/raytrix-presentation-from-vision-2012.html [blogspot.com] ]
Ascentia Imaging [ http://www.ascentiaimaging.com/ai_web_2812_003.htm [ascentiaimaging.com] ]

Re:Bought a Lytro (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768037)

I'd like some 3-D pussy.

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768127)

Imagine You Tube videos in 3D - stupid cat pictures without any editing in three dimensions! Yeah!

Actually, that sounds kind of awesome.

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769937)

While it is technically stereoscopic 3D, my HTC evo 3D takes and displays 3D photos and videos at a decent quality and resolution as long as the lighting isn't too dim. I'm not sure what you mean by "realistic 3D". Do you mean to have the ability to rotate the photo and view from multiple vantage points? Because AFAICT that would require a snapshot from more than one perspective (ie the evo 3d - and that only supplies two shots. For a good example, consider bullet time from "The Matrix"). If you want the ability to take a photo of something and rotate it 360 degrees, you need a shot of it from more than a one or two angles.

Re:Bought a Lytro (-1, Flamebait)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767717)

Lytro trades off enormous, and irrecoverable, losses in resolution for features of dubious worth that are of no value to a photographer. If your target is cell phones, Lytro resolution is simply disappointing. Otherwise it is unforgivable and cannot be otherwise. That's the conscious technical choice they make that they don't want discussed. Resolution is not unlimited and it is not a problem that computation can grow into despite what the publicity implies.

'We are moving the power of photography from optics to computation,' he says. 'So when the public really demands 3-D content, we will be ready for it.'

Lytro is not and has never been about 3-D and they are certainly not ready for it. Furthermore, the power of photography is not optics nor computation and it never will be. Finally, photography will always be about optics and Lytro's technology itself is heavily dependent on specialized optics.

Very high density of idiotic non-sequitors here. I would be embarrassed to have that shit associated with my name.

Re:Bought a Lytro (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768491)

You call yourself interested in technology?

This is awesome. It's a completely different way of capturing photos. And from your basement you get angry and bitter and twisted. You are a piece of shit.

Re:Bought a Lytro (3, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770931)

An AC calling someone a piece of shit. What a surprise.

I don't recall claiming I was interested in technology, but the fact that I am means I have actually studied what Lytro does. That's why I understand that it will be a failure. I suggest you funnel your anger toward a big, fat investment in Lytro if you feel otherwise.

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769961)

Lytro trades off enormous, and irrecoverable, losses in resolution for features of dubious worth that are of no value to a photographer.

They may be of no value to a conventional photographer, but it's not unheard of for new technologies to lead to new art forms.

Re:Bought a Lytro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42770191)

Yeah, i personally want a light field action camera

Re:Bought a Lytro (2)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770997)

Perhaps you should study more closely the problems Lytro is trying to solve, then speculate on the "new art forms" it may lead to...or perhaps you'd be happier continuing to believe that Lytro could be useful for something.

Here's a hint...depth of field is directly related to the resolving power of a system. Lytro trades resolving power in order to gain variable depth of field after the fact. What it actually does is destroy resolution thereby inflating apparent depth of field, then allow selective degradation of that afterward. The best case result would approach parity with existing technology and no better. Look at the background research of Lytro's founder, you will see that this is true. Now Lytro wants to justify its approach more generically with this computation vs. optics nonsense but that's just BS. Without the right optics and sensors you have nothing. Garbage in, garbage out. Lytro's goal appears to be computing for computing's sake because they don't know any better. Smart people...misguided.

But by all means, believe that Lytro is doing something revolutionary. They've conned plenty of people out of money already, why not you too? They came from Stanford, they have to be good, right?

Re:Bought a Lytro (2)

pjt33 (739471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42772199)

Now you're the one throwing around non sequiturs. I'm disputing your description of post-processing refocussing as useless: I'm not claiming anything about the current resolution of any particular product, and I'm certainly not planning to buy a light field camera in the next few years.

My initial idea for a work of art was to combine real-time refocussing with eye tracking to unfocus the area which the viewer is currently looking, focussing instead on something in the peripheral vision, conveying an impression of exclusion from the subject of the work. I'm sure Ai Weiwei could come up with something better. I don't think non-light field cameras could do this except for a subject which remains still enough to take several exposures.

Re:Bought a Lytro (2)

graphius (907855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42772749)

depth of field is directly related to the resolving power of a system

um... no,
Depth of field has to do with the physics of optics. Lytro is using a large array of lenses then combining the collected data in interesting ways. Yes they are sacrificing resolution, but their depth of field "magic" could just as easily be achieved by taking a large number of images taken with a DSLR, but the images would not all be taken at the same time, and the processing power needed would be immense. You might be more correct in saying that Lytro is trading resolution for time...

Re:Bought a Lytro (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42779881)

Returned it.

It was awful, and the resolution wasn't hot

Sure you should buy a Nikon D600 or digital back for a large format camera.

This light field thing is new and novel. New and novel to the degree that it is easy to see that sensor and post processing technology have room to improve.

It will take a while but this may prove to be the trick that solves the most common cell phone camera image errors. The technology is flat out amazing.

Welcome to the future of imaging.

My first thought (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767537)

Enhance 224 to 176. Enhance, stop. Move in, stop. Pull out, track right, stop. Center in, pull back. Stop. Track 45 right. Stop. Center and stop. Enhance 34 to 36. Pan right and pull back. Stop. Enhance 34 to 46. Pull back. Wait a minute, go right, stop. Enhance 57 to 19. Track 45 left. Stop. Enhance 15 to 23. Give me a hard copy right there.

Re:My first thought (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767577)

I could never figure that scene out. Deckard seemed to be looking around a foreground object.

Re:My first thought (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767833)

There was a paper some months ago about revealing an object obstructed by another thru the scatered rays that were bounced by it. Maybe if we could merge the two tecnologies, that amazing camera could be constructed.

Re:My first thought (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770237)

the tech depended on the photograph itself being of insane, insane resolution(possibly higher than physically possible on hard medium) and the machine at the police hq(it was a remote terminal he was using) having immense computational power and fancy algorithms to calculate from reflections in the picture what was "outside" the picture, as viewed from a different angle.

Re:My first thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42771109)

Because the scene was altered in post-production. What was seeing Harrison Ford and what ended on the movie were different.

Re:My first thought (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771415)

Phillip K Dick had ideas for all sorts of crazy sci-fi cameras, including those that can see around objects.

My favorite camera of his are his instant cameras that show what's going to happen an hour into the future. "Well the private detective just took a shot of us and saw us having sex in the future, so we might as well have sex." (from Clans of the Alphane moon)

Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (5, Informative)

levork (160540) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767623)

Wow, TFA is really glossing over an inherent limitation:

the "shiftability" of a Lytro image is a function of the width of the image sensor

If the goal of this is to produce useful stereo content that replicates the parallax seen by humans, then the image sensor needs to be at least as big as the average distance between two human pupils. That's roughly six centimeters. The Lytro's sensor is around six millimeters. Somehow I doubt they're going to increase their form factor by ten times in each dimension, and since the point of a Lytro is to avoid fancy lenses they can't bend the light path to compensate.

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767743)

No, but they might be able to avoid the lens entirely and do microlensing on a flat surface. For example, I could totally see the entire back of a cell phone be a light field camera, automatically throwing out data from where your fingers overlap the edges from holding it by using capacitive sensors in some way. I mean, we're probably talking twenty or thirty years out here, but that's the direction I see things heading eventually. And that would give you a believable stereo spread, not to mention much more usable resolution.

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (5, Interesting)

mr_exit (216086) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767781)

As long as you've got enough parallax to work out the depth information from your scene, you can push the effect to recreate viewpoints that are wider then you have real data for.

You will end up with tiny slivers of image that you don't have pixel data for when there's a foreground element that diverges more then it did before, but that's easy to recreate. All post converted 3d films have this problem to an even greater extent, there's algorithms out there to clone the surrounding pixels or even use pixels from other frames if the object is moving through the scene

There are lightfield cameras out there that instead of using a single chip, they use an array of small cameras (think cell phone cameras) The adobe one is 500 Megapixels

See the research by Todor Georgiev http://tgeorgiev.net/ [tgeorgiev.net] The Lytro camera is a nice cheap toy, but there's some stunning results form researchers.

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (3, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769055)

Typical IPD is 54-68mm. IMAX film stock is 70mm wide. This is not an insurmountable problem, at least for professional use.

Imagine a 70mm lightfield motion picture camera. Other than the fact that the data throughput would be positively insane, the requirements for physical size would be substantially less than a current IMAX camera.

I suspect that you can actually get away with less than the typical IPD and still produce a convincing effect. In which case, you can buy the required sensor today; you can get 48mm wide medium format digital sensors, and there's nothing special about the sensor in the Lytro. It's the array of microlenses and software that make it special. So it would be possible today to build a Lytro motion picture camera with a 48mm digital sensor, and I suspect that 48mm is close enough to the typical IPD to produce a convincing effect. Such sensors also have the resolution to make lightfield work for a motion picture (50 MP models turned in up the first page of results on B&H), and the cameras themselves are smaller than most motion picture cameras (or even ENG cameras)...

I suspect that the primary problem would be, again, the data throughput. Uncompressed 24fps 50 megapixel 36-bit images, those would pump out 41 gigabits per second... Compression would be pretty much required. If we use redcode as a benchmark (because apparently motion picture productions are happy with the quality of the compression enough to use it), where the minimum camera-supported compression ratio (on the RED ONE) is 8:1 and the highest is 12:1... This gives us about 5.1 Gbps and 3.4 Gbps... Heck, that's easy to handle. Existing communications tech can handle that, you could have a single 10 Gbps ethernet cable running out the back of your camera to an on-site storage box, and storing that sort of data rates isn't hard. Even a 4TB on-camera SSD module could store 156 minutes of footage... and handle those kinds of write speeds.

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769101)

Wow, TFA is really glossing over an inherent limitation:

the "shiftability" of a Lytro image is a function of the width of the image sensor

If the goal of this is to produce useful stereo content that replicates the parallax seen by humans, then the image sensor needs to be at least as big as the average distance between two human pupils. That's roughly six centimeters. The Lytro's sensor is around six millimeters. Somehow I doubt they're going to increase their form factor by ten times in each dimension, and since the point of a Lytro is to avoid fancy lenses they can't bend the light path to compensate.

On a mobile phone 6cm would be a lot, but on a discrete camera -- let alone professional-level gear -- 6cm is nothing. Especially in filming 3D movies light-field cameras have enormous advantages over regular cameras, what with requiring less space to operate, no need to focus on anything during the filming as long as you just point in the correct direction, exceedingly easy conversion to regular 3D or 2D and so on. Heck, just being able to re-focus the image during post-processing would be enough of a selling point all by itself!

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769255)

then the image sensor needs to be at least as big as the average distance between two human pupils.

Perhaps you should read that again.

the "shiftability" of a Lytro image is a function of the width of the image sensor

Nowhere does it say that it has a directly proportional 1:1 relationship, simply that the width is the key factor. For a 6 mm sensor, I'd say that it already has a very impressive "shiftability." I highly doubt that 6 cm will be required to replicate human parallax.

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769593)

The distance between our eyes has only an indirect effect on the parallax we see. It's the angle between the viewing vectors in relation to the field of view angle that have a direct impact. Ever look at a 3D scene on a computer screen with head or eye motion tracking? Astonishing how much of a difference it makes to factor in those angles.

Re:Lytro's 3-D is inherently limited (1)

complete loony (663508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770621)

I thought it was a limitation of the lens diameter, not the sensor chip. It doesn't really matter what size the other lenses and sensor is behind that if you are capturing each ray that came in the front.

voxels (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767677)

Combine the data from 12 or so of these in a matrix and you have a really powerful, accurate, self optimizing point cloud capture device for voxel 3d content.

Re:voxels (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770079)

My first thought was that this can do for "true" 3D recording what the Kinect couldn't because of its interference with other Kinects. We could put a bunch of these around someone and reconstruct a very complete 3D scene, including normal information (the camera knows what direction light is coming from), which is useful for motion capture, videobloggers who want a neat gimmick, and -porn-... and the latter has driven all sorts of innovations.

And the geek in me is giddy at the thought of the data you could get of scanned objects with this. Perfect representations :D

Re:voxels (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770091)

I forgot to mention why recording a 3D scene is useful for anything but 3D scanning. I hope most will already know, but for those that don't: you could do all sorts of things with it. The first things to come to mind is that stereoscopic 3D viewing is easy to achieve with realistic results. You could also look at the subject from different angles, and post-processing could use the 3D data to make extremely accurate green-screen type cutouts even without a green screen or anything like it. If you're clever, you could place the subject in a completely different environment altogether with ease. Good for movies and stuff, but also for journalists and such.

Re:voxels (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771021)

Sure are a lot of buzzwords applied in ignorance here.

when the public really demands 3-D content (4, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767739)

'when the public really demands 3-D content'

When it doesn't require glasses and doesn't give you headaches.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (1, Interesting)

harperska (1376103) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767883)

I wonder if it would be possible to make a 'light field' display, which rather than each pixel emitting light in all directions like in current 2d and faux 3d displays, it would be able to emit light in both the frequency and vector that was detected by the camera. This would be true autostereoscopic 3d, as the emitted light would have the same properties as the original light allowing the eye to naturally focus on it. I wonder if this would be possible by perfecting lenticular display technology, or if it would require something like an array of micro lasers with each pixel containing a set of lasers pointing in all directions.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (3, Interesting)

gmueckl (950314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768069)

A lenticular lens array in front of LCD screens are a nice do-it-yourself solution that almost does the trick. It makes an autostereoscopic display that can display more than 2 images in different directions, making it possible to move around in front of the screen and see a stereo image without glasses. However, there are a couple of limitations. The LCD resolution suffers tremendously and the number of zones that you can create still isn't very high. Maybe it gets better with retina displays, but I'm not sure. Even paper printouts of 20 to 30 images at 600dpi are barely good enough.

Another interesting idea is this proposal: http://gl.ict.usc.edu/Research/LFD/ [usc.edu] - replace each pixel on a *huge* screen with a microprojector acting as a directional light source. It is insane in its own special way, but this research group has successfully thrown massive amounts of hardware at problems in the past.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768641)

I saw a lenticular 3D display at SIGGRAPH 2006 which was pretty neat. They had a 3D model of a car and your view of the car changed with where you were standing and it had zero glasses.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (1)

CityZen (464761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768177)

If we could make displays at the same resolutions that we make image sensors, then it would be quite easy to make the display, since it would operate just like a Lytro except in reverse (the Lytro uses a microlens array in front of a regular high resolution image sensor).

Now, performing the computations to know what to display, that's another story. Of course, you could just display the data from the Lytro camera directly.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (3, Informative)

Dwedit (232252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768699)

There was an article earlier about Tensor Displays (slashdot link) [slashdot.org] , (MIT link) [mit.edu] , which used a sandwich of three high-refresh-rate LCD screens to simulate a light field by using the screens to selectively block light in multiple directions.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42770445)

I wonder if it would be possible to make a 'light field' display, which rather than each pixel emitting light in all directions like in current 2d and faux 3d displays, it would be able to emit light in both the frequency and vector that was detected by the camera. This would be true autostereoscopic 3d, as the emitted light would have the same properties as the original light allowing the eye to naturally focus on it. I wonder if this would be possible by perfecting lenticular display technology, or if it would require something like an array of micro lasers with each pixel containing a set of lasers pointing in all directions.

I'm not 100% sure, since I haven't seen this display in person, but this looks like the light field display you want:

http://www.raytrix.de/index.php/3D_displays.html

I don't think it requires lasers, but a lens array like the Lytro sensor should be feasible on the display side as well. No glasses required. It might even be possible to create a projector (project against a mirror, curved as required for proper scale) using a similar lens array in front of a standard LCD panel.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42770507)

Exactly what I was thinking since Avatar.

Nitpicking: Except that neither the display you described nor Lytro's device are actually a *light field* camera/display. They are just directional, traditional cameras and displays. An actual light field device would operate on the actual electromagnetic field that light is, and especially on its *phase* (complex-number part) instead of just its amplitude (real-number part). If you capture both amplitude and phase in a camera, then show both in a display, they reproduce everything the camera saw, including variable focus, looking from *any* direction and looking behind objects. That is because they simply capture *all* information that is in the light. A TV box like this would not be able to show objects "flying into your face", it would actually look like an open box with things *inside* it.

We already have still pictures like these. They're called holograms. So what I'm hoping for is an animated, colored hologram display. And a big one please, to avoid the "tiny things inside a box" feeling.

Re:when the public really demands 3-D content (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771067)

That's right, Lytro produces a shitty substitute for missing phase information and it does so in a computationally intensive manner that ruins resolving power. The founder knew this from the start but assumed Moore's Law would solve the problem. Thing is...it can't. Photography needs resolution AND dynamic range. Lytro makes the trade-off between those two competing goals much worse. That means Lytro can only be interesting for low resolution work. It may find its way into your next cell phone but not your next SLR. Apple could love this...it's closer to an Instagram filter than a photographic tool.

The 3D thing is kind of fake (0)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767879)

Lytro has a Flash program which will work on their images. Here's a good example. [lytro.com] This shows a girl blowing big bubbles, and you can see the background through the bubbles.

Lytro is doing more than an image warp, but less than multiple points of view, as you can see in this image. Click and drag on the image, and the point of view changes slightly. Note where the nearby orange toy occludes the car in the background, and see slightly more or less of the car appear. That looks correct. But look at the background through the bubbles. The background behind the bubbles doesn't change when you change the psuedo-POV. So they don't really have a stereoscopic view. Here's one with a row of glasses [lytro.com] which shows the same problem.

This is more like the kind of fake 3D added to movies in postprocessing. They're converting the image to layers and moving the layers relative to each other. To pull this off, the nearer layers have to be shown slightly larger than they really are. One you notice this, it's kind of creepy. It also fails for images with a range of depth but which don't layer well. This plant image [lytro.com] shows that. The near part of the plant is being treated as a single layer and warped, which looks wrong.

It's a useful tool for some special effects, perhaps, but not a breakthrough.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767981)

Those are awesome. I don't see what you are seeing with the plant image.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768307)

Ditto

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (4, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768033)

But look at the background through the bubbles. The background behind the bubbles doesn't change when you change the psuedo-POV

Look again. Pay attention to the bubble that masks the rear stair column. As you shift the image, the placement of the column within the bubble shifts (the amount of plant displayed varies).

This is beyond stereoscopy, and is a direct result of how they are capturing images. Stereoscopy only works on a single axis of view. This works on multiple axis.

The reason why it looks "fake" to you, is because none of this is done by the camera itself. Everything is done by running computations on the captured image. And as a result, the only way to display it is via an interactive container like Flash. The computations aren't done in realtime, so you only get whatever focus planes the algorithm (or artist) picked out when running the processing. Presumably, you could reprocess for different focal depth points.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (2)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768053)

Huh? The image with glasses works perfectly. I'm almost certain that you're completely incorrect here. It looks like it loads a full set of pre computed images for all available POV and focal points. Sure there is probably a rough threshold but that's a limitation of bandwidth, not the data.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768107)

It looks like it loads a full set of pre computed images for all available POV and focal points. Sure there is probably a rough threshold but that's a limitation of bandwidth, not the data.

No. This is an image taken from one camera position, with one sensor, with tiny lenses of different focal length over adjacent pixels. There is only one point of view, but depth can be inferred from depth of focus.

This is not a hologram, a time of flight image, or a 3D composite of images taken from multiple locations. It's much simpler than that.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768201)

No, you're completely wrong. The image through the bubbles and glass move. Also, you're thinking 3D, this isn't 3D. Your monitor isn't 3D. This is a change in perspective. It's like having remote control over a far away webcam. But it's a single image, from a single moment in time. It's like they took a picture of a scene and now you can travel around and look at it form different angels.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768407)

How does one form different angels? Why, what's wrong with the one's we've got?

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769269)

There isn't a single point of view. The lens isn't a pinhole lens: there's a circular area of view. That's what Lytro is doing here: simulating pinhole cameras at various positions on the lens. You can't get a point of view that isn't covered by the camera's lens.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769389)

If you're talking about the last image, where they have a row of drinking glasses, it only works at first glance. The background through that first glass moves as it should. But the background through the further glasses does not.

Re:The 3D thing is kind of fake (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769847)

All three images you point to seem okay.
In particular the row of glasses clearly shows a different perspective in the background; you can see from the kid's arm and the second glass from the background of the first glass.
As you describe from the plant image, I gather you were expecting all kinds of visual layers, but this is pretty much what you should expect; objects at a distance have far less parallax effect, this holds true for normal photography a well.
I think you have to keep in mind that the change in perspective are very minimal even in the foreground; It's like moving your head less than a centimeter to the side.

I agree though that that it's not breakthrough. That will happen when we see pictures of what we all know is the killer app for this type of camera (or any type of camera, really).

Medical Applications of the Lytro? (2)

Guppy (12314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768113)

In November, Lytro, the maker of the first light field camera for consumers, upgraded its viewer software to enable a feature called 'Perspective Shift.' In addition to refocusing pictures after they've been taken, Lytro audiences can now pivot between different virtual points of view, within a narrow baseline.

It sounds like the techniques Lytro uses could make for a really good Borescope/Endoscope. Imagine being able to virtually shift your view to get another perspective (even if only a few millimeters), without moving your scope. If you could process the shifting fast enough, you might use it as a way to compensate for the motion of a beating heart or moving probe. Or upon reviewing a recording, re-focusing on a newly-found item of interest, even after you've pulled your scope out of the patient.

It might also be used to build a compact yet superior type of Fundus Camera -- current cameras are often rather bulky things. The Lytro has a single aperture, yet might be capable of imagine the retina in 3-D (it is a multi-layered structure). The light field info might even allow you to compensate for some kinds of cornea or lens aberration.

Lytro is the Transmeta of camera technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769129)

Somewhat interesting tech, but not nearly as interesting as they make it out to be. Squandering the tech by refusing to make it available to people outside certain channels and/or failing to make it available at a fair price.

I predict they'll slog it out for a while, and then end up screwing investors like Transmeta did.

Tilted focal plane... a real world example (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769165)

Here [flickr.com] 's a virtual focus photo I did a few years ago, placing the focal plane on a skew.

If you take photos from a large enough set of positions with a normal camera and some time, you can get the same thing lytro does, but only with still subjects.

Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

mfnickster (182520) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769463)

Ha! Now all those nitpickers who complained that Deckard's inspection of Leon's photo in his Esper machine shows an impossible "perspective shift" will have to eat their words!

I guess with a good-sized light field, you really can photograph around corners!

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770245)

as far as I could tell it worked by calculating stuff from reflections in the picture.

it was a 2d picture after all that he had. just one with crazy, crazy dpi.

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771271)

How can you and others comment on how it "worked," when it's a visual effects sequence on a fantasy film? It wasn't intended to prove any theoretical process, and I doubt that the sequence was conceived by physicists; it was intended to look futuristic and cool.

          dZ.

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

mfnickster (182520) | about a year and a half ago | (#42773145)

Even a reflection will only give you a single POV from a traditional camera, no matter how high the resolution. But there's definitely a point in the sequence where Deckard tells it to track left, and part of the door edge moves across the background, revealing more of the woman and nightstand behind it. That's the part nitpickers complain about - looking "around" an object in the picture.

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

metaforest (685350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782691)

The nitpickers do not understand the scene, or follow Deckard's mindset as he examines the photo.

The view was taken in one room looking into a second room(hallway?) through a doorway. On the opposing wall (in the other room looking through the doorway) is a convex silver mirror. In the right portion of the curved mirror is reflected the image of a partially open door that impinges into the room where the picture was taken. A full length mirror set in the center of the door creates the correct incident angle to reveal the woman lying on the cot, which is out of frame (to the left and low) in the camera's primary view.

The fictional camera that took the picture had a ridiculously long depth of field , and high resolution. The print process was also absurdly high resolution. No other exotic tech is needed to have those elements stored on the print.

The Esper machine, by modern standards, is almost passe.

That scene is one of my favorite reveals of all times.

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

metaforest (685350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782771)

sorry for replying to my own post... correcting a slight error in my description.
Erm cant keep left and right straight... the cot/bed is on the right... and also it is not unusual in remodeled victorians converted to rooming houses to have a room that has an entrance at ether end of the central hallway.

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

mfnickster (182520) | about a year and a half ago | (#42786853)

Watch this section, from 1:57 to about 2:08:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHepKd38pr0#t=1m57s [youtube.com]

You will see the movement of the door edge that reveals more detail as Deckard tracks and zooms. There's no possible way for a flat, static photo taken from a single POV to do this. It has to be 3D, or layered, or the Esper has to be doing some kind of interpolation from the distorted reflection.

Re:Blade Runner anyone...? (1)

metaforest (685350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792295)

That the Esper is applying interpolative corrections makes perfect sense for the scene. "Enhance" would seem to mean, "figure out what is going on in this picture and correct for possible distortion(s)."

The tools we have today can do this. They can't do it automagically. It generally requires telling the software, "In this region of the picture... Treat *this* curved edge as if it was straight." Doing so would result in an acceptable image.

Use 2 of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769571)

What would happen if you use 2 of these spaced apart the same distance as your eyes, then in goggles that you put on your head put one into each eye, somehow chuck in eye tracking to control the images to your eyes and bam!

3D? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771221)

So when the public really demands 3-D content, we will be ready for it.

I thought the public had already weighed in on 3D and their opinion is basically, "Meh".

Re:3D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42773015)

I thought the public had already weighed in on 3D and their opinion is basically, "Meh".

They've weighed in on polarized stereoscopic glasses-wearing single-POV fixed-focus 3D.

Let's wait and see what they say about multifocus no-glasses full-parallax head-tracking high frame rate 3D. :)

Lytro, 3D, depth of field and focal plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42773119)

Viewing 3D images/video involves not just a matter of parallax (although most 3D equipment manufacturers seem to totally miss the importance of parallax), but also focal plane and depth of field. As we shift our focus from close to far, the images we focus on should snap into focus and those at different distances should be out of focus. Inventions in eye tracking (capable of measuring focal distance and iris size [depth of field]) will greatly enhance the viewing experience. Light field cameras capture light fields in such a way that you could use such eye tracking to allow for comfortable and realistic viewing.

Examples of Artifacts (1)

Ramsus (697543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775037)

Mostly they show up when in creative mode because you can have areas of the scene that can't be pulled into focus, and when shooting dirty glass. I've been really happy with the picture quality in general though, and am sure that improvements in the software/algorithms will help a lot.
https://pictures.lytro.com/tophertuttle/pictures/544030 [lytro.com]

https://pictures.lytro.com/tophertuttle/pictures/544050 [lytro.com]

https://pictures.lytro.com/tophertuttle/pictures/531986 [lytro.com]

Also this article makes for an interesting read.
http://eclecti.cc/computervision/reverse-engineering-the-lytro-lfp-file-format [eclecti.cc]

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