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Neural Light Transport for Relighting and View Synthesis
ACM Transactions on Graphics   (IF6.495),  Pub Date : 2021-01-18, DOI: 10.1145/3446328
Xiuming Zhang, Sean Fanello, Yun-Ta Tsai, Tiancheng Sun, Tianfan Xue, Rohit Pandey, Sergio Orts-Escolano, Philip Davidson, Christoph Rhemann, Paul Debevec, Jonathan T. Barron, Ravi Ramamoorthi, William T. Freeman

The light transport (LT) of a scene describes how it appears under different lighting conditions from different viewing directions, and complete knowledge of a scene’s LT enables the synthesis of novel views under arbitrary lighting. In this article, we focus on image-based LT acquisition, primarily for human bodies within a light stage setup. We propose a semi-parametric approach for learning a neural representation of the LT that is embedded in a texture atlas of known but possibly rough geometry. We model all non-diffuse and global LT as residuals added to a physically based diffuse base rendering. In particular, we show how to fuse previously seen observations of illuminants and views to synthesize a new image of the same scene under a desired lighting condition from a chosen viewpoint. This strategy allows the network to learn complex material effects (such as subsurface scattering) and global illumination (such as diffuse interreflection), while guaranteeing the physical correctness of the diffuse LT (such as hard shadows). With this learned LT, one can relight the scene photorealistically with a directional light or an HDRI map, synthesize novel views with view-dependent effects, or do both simultaneously, all in a unified framework using a set of sparse observations. Qualitative and quantitative experiments demonstrate that our Neural Light Transport (NLT) outperforms state-of-the-art solutions for relighting and view synthesis, without requiring separate treatments for both problems that prior work requires. The code and data are available at