Image and depth from a conventional camera with a coded aperture

Abstract

A conventional camera captures blurred versions of scene information away from the plane of focus. Camera systems have been proposed that allow for recording all-focus images, or for extracting depth, but to record both simultaneously has required more extensive hardware and reduced spatial resolution. We propose a simple modification to a conventional camera that allows for the simultaneous recovery of both (a) high resolution image information and (b) depth information adequate for semi-automatic extraction of a layered depth representation of the image. Our modification is to insert a patterned occluder within the aperture of the camera lens, creating a coded aperture. We introduce a criterion for depth discriminability which we use to design the preferred aperture pattern. Using a statistical model of images, we can recover both depth information and an all-focus image from single photographs taken with the modified camera. A layered depth map is then extracted, requiring user-drawn strokes to clarify layer assignments in some cases. The resulting sharp image and layered depth map can be combined for various photographic applications, including automatic scene segmentation, post-exposure refocusing, or re-rendering of the scene from an alternate viewpoint.

DOI: 10.1145/1275808.1276464

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