Sea of images

Daniel G. Aliaga, Thomas Funkhouser, Dimah Yanovsky, Ingrid Carlbom

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

29 Scopus citations


A long-standing research problem in computer graphics is to reproduce the visual experience of walking through a large photorealistic environment interactively. On one hand, traditional geometry-based rendering systems fall short of simulating the visual realism of a complex environment. On the other hand, image-based rendering systems have to date been unable to capture and store a sampled representation of a large environment with complex lighting and visibility effects. In this paper, we present a "Sea of Images," a practical approach to dense sampling, storage, and reconstruction of the plenoptic function in large, complex indoor environments. We use a motorized cart to capture omnidirectional images every few inches on a eye-height plane throughout an environment. The captured images are compressed and stored in a multiresolution hierarchy suitable for real-time prefetching during an interactive walkthrough. Later, novel images are reconstructed for a simulated observer by resampling nearby captured images. Our system acquires 15,254 images over 1,050 square feet at an average image spacing of 1.5 inches. The average capture and processing time is 7 hours. We demonstrate realistic walkthroughs of real-world environments reproducing specular reflections and occlusion effects while rendering 15-25 frames per second.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2002
EventVIS 2002, IEEE Visualisation 2002 - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Oct 27 2002Nov 1 2002


OtherVIS 2002, IEEE Visualisation 2002
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Capture
  • Image-based rendering
  • Interactive
  • Reconstruction
  • Walkthrough


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