General Appearance Acquisition and Computational Photography (Former Research Group)

The research group "General Appearance Acquisition and Computational Photography," headed by Hendrik Lensch, was part of the Cluster of Excellence MMCI from October 2007 until December 2009.

Vision and Research Strategy

One central problem in computer graphics is synthesizing photorealistic images, for which a broad range of rendering algorithms is known. One fundamental building block of these algorithms is the simulation of the interaction between incident illumination and the reflective properties of the scene. The limiting factor in photo-realistic image synthesis today is modeling the input to the algorithms. The realism of the outcome depends largely on the quality of the scene description. Accurate input is required for geometry, illumination and reflective properties. An efficient way to obtain realistic models is through measurement of scene attributes from real-world objects. The attributes are estimated from real photographs by inverting the rendering process.

One focus of this research group is on developing techniques for measuring the scene's reflection properties. The goal is to capture the appearance of the entire scene including all local and global illumination effects such as highlights, shadows, interreflections, or caustics, such that the scene can be later relit in a virtual environment. The envisioned techniques need to cope with arbitrary materials, scenes with high depth complexity such as trees, and scenes in arbitrary environments, i.e., outside a measurement laboratory.

A second thread of research addressed by this group is computational photography with the goal of developing optical systems augmented by computational procedures, by jointly designing the capturing apparatus, i.e., the optical layout of active or passive devices such as cameras, projectors, beam-splitters, etc., together with the capturing algorithm and appropriate post-processing. Such combined systems increase image quality by removing images noise or camera shake, or by pronouncing or extracting scene features such as edges or silhouettes by optical means; or they may be used to reconstruct 3D volumes from images.

Composition of Group

The group on Appearance Acquisition and Computational Photography was established in July 2007 as an Emmy Noether research group awarded to Hendrik Lensch by the DFG. It was associated with the cluster of excellence since its beginning. The group included up to six PhD students funded by the DFG (Christian Fuchs, Matthias Hullin), the Max Planck Center for Visual Computing and Communication (Martin Fuchs, Boris Ajdin) as well as the International Max Planck Research School (Miguel Granados, Tongbo Chen). So far, Tongbo Chen, Martin Fuchs and Christian Fuchs have received their PhDs. In 2009, Hendrik Lensch accepted a tenured faculty position at Ulm University.

Research Topics and Achievements

Projects and Collaborations

Prizes and Awards

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Lensch

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Lensch

Hendrik Lensch is a full professor at the Institute for Media Informatics in the Department for Engineering and Computer Science at Ulm University, heading the computer graphics group.

Fon: +49 731 503 13 03