Revolutionizing Photography With 3-D Cameras


December 22, 2004

Photos of items up for bid on the Internet auction site don't always tell the whole story.

The antique porcelain doll that appears perfect from the front could be irreparably flawed in the back. Or the used Chevy truck with a price tag that's too-good-to-be-true could have an undisclosed dent in its rear bumper.

A 3-D camera being developed by ECE Professor Tsuhan Chen, graduate student Kate (Hyun Jung) Shim and former student Cha Zhang, could solve consumer confidence problems such as these -- and revolutionize photography in the process.

"Many of us refer to photographic images as fossilized light because every time you take a picture you are capturing light rays in time," said Chen, who works in Carnegie Mellon's Advanced Multimedia Processing Laboratory. "With current technology, I say we're not even close to that because we're missing a lot of the viewpoints."

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Excerpted with permission from the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review, December 22, 2004. Text by Jennifer Bails; Images by Carnegie Mellon and the Tribune-Review/Justin Merriman.

Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

By capturing many images of a scene, image-based rendering (IBR) creates very realistic 3-D photos. Pictured above are 9 of the views taken by the 48 camera array.