Technology Realistically Inserts Objects Into Existing Photographs

Posted on October 15, 2011

University of Illinois researchers, lead by Kevin Karsch, have developed an impressive technology that inserts objects into photographs as if they had been there all along. The images are rendered using LuxRender. The researchers say the images they produce are "confusable with real scenes" and the video belows shows that they most certainly are.
We propose a method to realistically insert synthetic objects into existing photographs without requiring access to the scene or any additional scene measurements. With a single image and a small amount of annotation, our method creates a physical model of the scene that is suitable for realistically rendering synthetic objects with diffuse, specular, and even glowing materials while accounting for lighting interactions between the objects and the scene. We demonstrate in a user study that synthetic images produced by our method are confusable with real scenes, even for people who believe they are good at telling the difference.
It will become increasingly difficult to trust photographs - and ultimately video as well - as this type of technology continues to improve. Take a look:

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