A System for Acquiring, Processing, and Rendering Panoramic Light Field Stills for Virtual Reality

Welcome to Light Fields

Ryan Overbeck, Daniel Erickson
Dan Evangelakos, Matt Pharr, and Paul Debevec

Google Inc.

Click to view the paper.


Technical Paper PDF
Making of Abstract PDF
Download Steam VR DEMO


Light fields can provide transportive immersive experiences with a level of realism unsurpassed by any other imaging technology. Within a limited viewing volume, light fields accurately reproduce stereo parallax, motion parallax, reflections, refractions, and volumetric effects for real-world scenes. While light fields have been explored in computer graphics since the mid-90’s [Gortler et al. 1996; Levoy and Hanrahan 1996], practical systems for recording, processing, and delivering high quality light field experiences have remained out of reach.

We present a system for acquiring, processing, and rendering panoramic light field still photography for display in Virtual Reality (VR). We acquire spherical light field datasets with two novel light field camera rigs designed for portable and efficient light field acquisition. We introduce a novel realtime light field reconstruction algorithm that uses a per-view geometry and a disk-based blending field. We also demonstrate how to use a light field prefiltering operation to project from a high-quality offline reconstruction model into our real-time model while suppressing artifacts. We introduce a practical approach for compressing light fields by modifying the VP9 video codec to provide high quality compression with real-time, random access decompression.


SIGGRAPH Asia 2018 Technical Video

SIGGRAPH 2018 "Making of" Talk

VR@50 2018 Light Fields

At SIGGRAPH 2018 in Vancouver, Prof. Henry Fuchs invited us to record panoramic light field stills of the "VR@50" panels featuring Virtual Reality pioneer Ivan Sutherland and his colleagues. Here you can find the light field data files which can be viewed in 6-degrees-of-freedom VR using the free Welcome to Light Fields app available on Steam VR.

First, here are 4K panoramas rendered from the center position of the light fields of both the afternoon and the evening events:

Installing the light fields will allow you to step inside these scenes in Virtual Reality and move your viewpoint in any direction in about a 60 centimeter diameter volume. Download the additional VR@50 light fields and installation instructions here. Enjoy!

Related work

DeepView View Synthesis with Learned Gradient Descent

A Low Cost Multi-Camera Array for Panoramic Light Field Video Capture