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A method for capturing geometric features of real-world scenes relies on a simple capture setup modification. The system might conceivably be packaged into a portable self-contained device. The multiflash imaging method bypasses 3D geometry acquisition and directly acquires depth edges from images. In the place of expensive, elaborate equipment for geometry acquisition, we use a camera with multiple strategically positioned flashes. Instead of having to estimate the full 3D coordinates of points in the scene (using, for example, 3D cameras) and then look for depth discontinuities, our technique reduces the general 3D problem of depth edge recovery to one of 2D intensity edge detection. Our method could, in fact, help improve current 3D cameras, which tend to produce incorrect results near depth discontinuities. Exploiting the imaging geometry for rendering provides a simple and inexpensive solution for creating stylized images from real scenes. We believe that our camera will be a useful tool for professional artists and photographers, and we expect that it will also let the average user easily create stylized imagery. This article is available with a short video documentary on CD-ROM.
Date of Publication: Jan.-Feb. 2005