Scene Reconstruction from Multi-Scale Input Data
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Geometry acquisition of real-world objects by means of 3D scanning or stereo reconstruction constitutes a very important and challenging problem in computer vision. 3D scanners and stereo algorithms usually provide geometry from one viewpoint only, and several of the these scans need to be merged into one consistent representation. Scanner data generally has lower noise levels than stereo methods and the scanning scenario is more controlled. In image-based stereo approaches, the aim is to reconstruct the 3D surface of an object solely from multiple photos of the object. In many cases, the stereo geometry is contaminated with noise and outliers, and exhibits large variations in scale. Approaches that fuse such data into one consistent surface must be resilient to such imperfections. In this thesis, we take a closer look at geometry reconstruction using both scanner data and the more challenging image-based scene reconstruction approaches. In particular, this work focuses on the uncontrolled setting where the input images are not constrained, may be taken with different camera models, under different lighting and weather conditions, and from vastly different points of view. A typical dataset contains many views that observe the scene from an overview perspective, and relatively few views capture small details of the geometry. What results from these datasets are surface samples of the scene with vastly different resolution. As we will show in this thesis, the multi-resolution, or, "multi-scale" nature of the input is a relevant aspect for surface reconstruction, which has rarely been considered in literature yet. Integrating scale as additional information in the reconstruction process can make a substantial difference in surface quality. We develop and study two different approaches for surface reconstruction that are able to cope with the challenges resulting from uncontrolled images. The first approach implements surface reconstruction by fusion of depth maps using a multi-scale hierarchical signed distance function. The hierarchical representation allows fusion of multi-resolution depth maps without mixing geometric information at incompatible scales, which preserves detail in high-resolution regions. An incomplete octree is constructed by incrementally adding triangulated depth maps to the hierarchy, which leads to scattered samples of the multi-resolution signed distance function. A continuous representation of the scattered data is defined by constructing a tetrahedral complex, and a final, highly-adaptive surface is extracted by applying the Marching Tetrahedra algorithm. A second, point-based approach is based on a more abstract, multi-scale implicit function defined as a sum of basis functions. Each input sample contributes a single basis function which is parameterized solely by the sample's attributes, effectively yielding a parameter-free method. Because the scale of each sample controls the size of the basis function, the method automatically adapts to data redundancy for noise reduction and is highly resilient to the quality-degrading effects of low-resolution samples, thus favoring high-resolution surfaces. Furthermore, we present a robust, image-based reconstruction system for surface modeling: MVE, the Multi-View Environment. The implementation provides all steps involved in the pipeline: Calibration and registration of the input images, dense geometry reconstruction by means of stereo, a surface reconstruction step and post-processing, such as remeshing and texturing. In contrast to other software solutions for image-based reconstruction, MVE handles large, uncontrolled, multi-scale datasets as well as input from more controlled capture scenarios. The reason lies in the particular choice of the multi-view stereo and surface reconstruction algorithms. The resulting surfaces are represented using a triangular mesh, which is a piecewise linear approximation to the real surface. The individual triangles are often so small that they barely contribute any geometric information and can be ill-shaped, which can cause numerical problems. A surface remeshing approach is introduced which changes the surface discretization such that more favorable triangles are created. It distributes the vertices of the mesh according to a density function, which is derived from the curvature of the geometry. Such a mesh is better suited for further processing and has reduced storage requirements. We thoroughly compare the developed methods against the state-of-the art and also perform a qualitative evaluation of the two surface reconstruction methods on a wide range of datasets with different properties. The usefulness of the remeshing approach is demonstrated on both scanner and multi-view stereo data.