Multi-flash camera makes automatic line drawings

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Photography & Video
Multi-flash camera makes automatic line drawings

Here’s an oldie-but-goodie from 2004: Kar-Han Tan, James Kobler, Rogerio S. Feris, Paul Dietz, and Ramesh Raskar, then of the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory (MERL), produced a custom digital camera and software that derives line drawings of a scene, or an object, by analyzing the shadows in four otherwise-identical pictures that are illuminated from different quadrants. The MERL has a technical report from 2005 describing potential medical applications of the technology, and has a good general overview of the process. Raskar has since gone on to the MIT media lab (so you know he’s doing something right), and his page there includes more up-to-date work on the technology.

Thanks to Jon Wolfe for bringing this to my attention.

8 thoughts on “Multi-flash camera makes automatic line drawings

  1. Beaver says:

    If they colored each strobe they could etract normal map information and get geometry!

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      You sound like you know what you’re talking about, but I gotta admit I don’t follow. Can you explain/link an explanation? For other readers as well as myself. Meanwhile, you oughta check out Raskar’s web page at MIT and see if he’s already trying to do something like that. If he isn’t, you should e-mail and ask about it, or better yet, if you’re the grad school type, see if he’ll pay you to come to Cambridge and make it work! :)

  2. AndyL says:

    I wonder if you could do this with landscapes by taking pictures at different times of day.

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Outstanding idea. I bet you could.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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