While surface-based view synthesis algorithms are appealing due to their low computational requirements, they often struggle to reproduce thin structures. In contrast, more expensive methods that model the scene's geometry as a volumetric density field (e.g. NeRF) excel at reconstructing fine geometric detail. However, density fields often represent geometry in a "fuzzy" manner, which hinders exact localization of the surface. In this work, we modify density fields to encourage them to converge towards surfaces, without compromising their ability to reconstruct thin structures. First, we employ a discrete opacity grid representation instead of a continuous density field, which allows opacity values to discontinuously transition from zero to one at the surface. Second, we anti-alias by casting multiple rays per pixel, which allows occlusion boundaries and subpixel structures to be modelled without using semi-transparent voxels. Third, we minimize the binary entropy of the opacity values, which facilitates the extraction of surface geometry by encouraging opacity values to binarize towards the end of training. Lastly, we develop a fusion-based meshing strategy followed by mesh simplification and appearance model fitting. The compact meshes produced by our model can be rendered in real-time on mobile devices and achieve significantly higher view synthesis quality compared to existing mesh-based approaches.
Existing UV mapping algorithms are designed to operate on well-behaved meshes, instead of the geometry representations produced by state-of-the-art 3D reconstruction and generation techniques. As such, applying these methods to the volume densities recovered by neural radiance fields and related techniques (or meshes triangulated from such fields) results in texture atlases that are too fragmented to be useful for tasks such as view synthesis or appearance editing. We present a UV mapping method designed to operate on geometry produced by 3D reconstruction and generation techniques. Instead of computing a mapping defined on a mesh's vertices, our method Nuvo uses a neural field to represent a continuous UV mapping, and optimizes it to be a valid and well-behaved mapping for just the set of visible points, i.e. only points that affect the scene's appearance. We show that our model is robust to the challenges posed by ill-behaved geometry, and that it produces editable UV mappings that can represent detailed appearance.
3D reconstruction methods such as Neural Radiance Fields (NeRFs) excel at rendering photorealistic novel views of complex scenes. However, recovering a high-quality NeRF typically requires tens to hundreds of input images, resulting in a time-consuming capture process. We present ReconFusion to reconstruct real-world scenes using only a few photos. Our approach leverages a diffusion prior for novel view synthesis, trained on synthetic and multiview datasets, which regularizes a NeRF-based 3D reconstruction pipeline at novel camera poses beyond those captured by the set of input images. Our method synthesizes realistic geometry and texture in underconstrained regions while preserving the appearance of observed regions. We perform an extensive evaluation across various real-world datasets, including forward-facing and 360-degree scenes, demonstrating significant performance improvements over previous few-view NeRF reconstruction approaches.
The interaction between the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A$^*$, and its accretion disk, occasionally produces high energy flares seen in X-ray, infrared and radio. One mechanism for observed flares is the formation of compact bright regions that appear within the accretion disk and close to the event horizon. Understanding these flares can provide a window into black hole accretion processes. Although sophisticated simulations predict the formation of these flares, their structure has yet to be recovered by observations. Here we show the first three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of an emission flare in orbit recovered from ALMA light curves observed on April 11, 2017. Our recovery results show compact bright regions at a distance of roughly 6 times the event horizon. Moreover, our recovery suggests a clockwise rotation in a low-inclination orbital plane, a result consistent with prior studies by EHT and GRAVITY collaborations. To recover this emission structure we solve a highly ill-posed tomography problem by integrating a neural 3D representation (an emergent artificial intelligence approach for 3D reconstruction) with a gravitational model for black holes. Although the recovered 3D structure is subject, and sometimes sensitive, to the model assumptions, under physically motivated choices we find that our results are stable and our approach is successful on simulated data. We anticipate that in the future, this approach could be used to analyze a richer collection of time-series data that could shed light on the mechanisms governing black hole and plasma dynamics.
Refractive Index Tomography is an inverse problem in which we seek to reconstruct a scene's 3D refractive field from 2D projected image measurements. The refractive field is not visible itself, but instead affects how the path of a light ray is continuously curved as it travels through space. Refractive fields appear across a wide variety of scientific applications, from translucent cell samples in microscopy to fields of dark matter bending light from faraway galaxies. This problem poses a unique challenge because the refractive field directly affects the path that light takes, making its recovery a non-linear problem. In addition, in contrast with traditional tomography, we seek to recover the refractive field using a projected image from only a single viewpoint by leveraging knowledge of light sources scattered throughout the medium. In this work, we introduce a method that uses a coordinate-based neural network to model the underlying continuous refractive field in a scene. We then use explicit modeling of rays' 3D spatial curvature to optimize the parameters of this network, reconstructing refractive fields with an analysis-by-synthesis approach. The efficacy of our approach is demonstrated by recovering refractive fields in simulation, and analyzing how recovery is affected by the light source distribution. We then test our method on a simulated dark matter mapping problem, where we recover the refractive field underlying a realistic simulated dark matter distribution.
Decomposing an object's appearance into representations of its materials and the surrounding illumination is difficult, even when the object's 3D shape is known beforehand. This problem is ill-conditioned because diffuse materials severely blur incoming light, and is ill-posed because diffuse materials under high-frequency lighting can be indistinguishable from shiny materials under low-frequency lighting. We show that it is possible to recover precise materials and illumination -- even from diffuse objects -- by exploiting unintended shadows, like the ones cast onto an object by the photographer who moves around it. These shadows are a nuisance in most previous inverse rendering pipelines, but here we exploit them as signals that improve conditioning and help resolve material-lighting ambiguities. We present a method based on differentiable Monte Carlo ray tracing that uses images of an object to jointly recover its spatially-varying materials, the surrounding illumination environment, and the shapes of the unseen light occluders who inadvertently cast shadows upon it.
Neural Radiance Field training can be accelerated through the use of grid-based representations in NeRF's learned mapping from spatial coordinates to colors and volumetric density. However, these grid-based approaches lack an explicit understanding of scale and therefore often introduce aliasing, usually in the form of jaggies or missing scene content. Anti-aliasing has previously been addressed by mip-NeRF 360, which reasons about sub-volumes along a cone rather than points along a ray, but this approach is not natively compatible with current grid-based techniques. We show how ideas from rendering and signal processing can be used to construct a technique that combines mip-NeRF 360 and grid-based models such as Instant NGP to yield error rates that are 8% - 76% lower than either prior technique, and that trains 22x faster than mip-NeRF 360.
We present a method for reconstructing high-quality meshes of large unbounded real-world scenes suitable for photorealistic novel view synthesis. We first optimize a hybrid neural volume-surface scene representation designed to have well-behaved level sets that correspond to surfaces in the scene. We then bake this representation into a high-quality triangle mesh, which we equip with a simple and fast view-dependent appearance model based on spherical Gaussians. Finally, we optimize this baked representation to best reproduce the captured viewpoints, resulting in a model that can leverage accelerated polygon rasterization pipelines for real-time view synthesis on commodity hardware. Our approach outperforms previous scene representations for real-time rendering in terms of accuracy, speed, and power consumption, and produces high quality meshes that enable applications such as appearance editing and physical simulation.
Neural radiance fields enable state-of-the-art photorealistic view synthesis. However, existing radiance field representations are either too compute-intensive for real-time rendering or require too much memory to scale to large scenes. We present a Memory-Efficient Radiance Field (MERF) representation that achieves real-time rendering of large-scale scenes in a browser. MERF reduces the memory consumption of prior sparse volumetric radiance fields using a combination of a sparse feature grid and high-resolution 2D feature planes. To support large-scale unbounded scenes, we introduce a novel contraction function that maps scene coordinates into a bounded volume while still allowing for efficient ray-box intersection. We design a lossless procedure for baking the parameterization used during training into a model that achieves real-time rendering while still preserving the photorealistic view synthesis quality of a volumetric radiance field.