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EI 2019 Plenary: Light Fields and Light Stages for Photoreal Movies, Games, and Virtual Reality

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Published on Feb 15, 2019

This Plenary presentation was delivered at the 30th annual Electronic Imaging Symposium (13-17 January 2019) held in Burlingame, CA USA. For more information see: http://www.electronicimaging.org

Title: Light Fields and Light Stages for Photoreal Movies, Games, and Virtual Reality

Speaker: Paul Debevec, Senior Scientist, Google (United States)

Abstract: Paul Debevec discusses the technology and production processes behind "Welcome to Light Fields", the first downloadable virtual reality experience based on light field capture techniques which allow the visual appearance of an explorable volume of space to be recorded and reprojected photorealistically in VR enabling full 6DOF head movement. The lightfields technique differs from conventional approaches such as 3D modelling and photogrammetry. Debevec will discuss the theory and application of the technique. Debevec will also discuss the Light Stage computational illumination and facial scanning systems which use geodesic spheres of inward-pointing LED lights as have been used to create digital actor effects in movies such as Avatar, Benjamin Button, and Gravity, and have recently been used to create photoreal digital actors based on real people in movies such as Furious 7, Blade Runner: 2049, and Ready Player One. Th lighting reproduction process of light stages allows omnidirectional lighting environments captured from the real world to be accurately reproduced in a studio, and has recently be extended with multispectral capabilities to enable LED lighting to accurately mimic the color rendition properties of daylight, incandescent, and mixed lighting environments. They have also recently used their full-body light stage in conjunction with natural language processing and automultiscopic video projection to record and project interactive conversations with survivors of the World War II Holocaust.

Biography: Paul Debevec is a Senior Scientist at Google VR, a member of GoogleVR's Daydream team, and Adjunct Research Professor of Computer Science in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, working within the Vision and Graphics Laboratory at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Debevec's computer graphics research has been recognized with ACM SIGGRAPH's first Significant New Researcher Award in 2001 for "Creative and Innovative Work in the Field of Image-Based Modeling and Rendering", a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award in 2010 for "the design and engineering of the Light Stage capture devices and the image-based facial rendering system developed for character relighting in motion pictures" with Tim Hawkins, John Monos, and Mark Sagar, and the SMPTE Progress Medal in 2017 in recognition of his achievements and ongoing work in pioneering techniques for illuminating computer-generated objects based on measurement of real-world illumination and their effective commercial application in numerous Hollywood films. In 2014, he was profiled in The New Yorker magazine's "Pixel Perfect: The Scientist Behind the Digital Cloning of Actors" article by Margaret Talbot.

© 2019, Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T)

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