The assignee for this patent application is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to generating optimized stereo settings for computer animation, and more specifically to calculating creative bounded-parallax constraints for a computer-generated object in view of a pair of stereoscopic cameras within a computer-generated scene.
"Cinematographic-quality computer animation has evolved to produce increasingly realistic and engaging visual effects. One way that this is accomplished is through the use of stereoscopic filming techniques that simulate human binocular vision by presenting slightly different viewpoints of a scene to a viewer's left and right eye. This technique, also known colloquially as '3D,' can be used to enhance the illusion of depth perception and make objects in a computer-generated scene appear to extend outward from a two-dimensional screen.
"In normal human binocular vision, each eye views the world from a slightly different perspective. The difference in the view from each eye, also called parallax, is caused, in part, by the spatial separation between the eyes. In general, the amount of parallax is increased for objects that are closer to the viewer as compared to objects that are further from the viewer. The brain is able to combine the different views from each eye and use the parallax between views to perceive the relative depth of real-world objects.
"Computer-animation stereoscopic filming techniques take advantage of the brain's ability to judge depth through parallax by presenting separate images to each eye. Each image depicts a computer-generated object from a slightly different viewpoint. The distance between the left and right images displayed on a screen (parallax) indicates the relative depth of the displayed computer-generated object. Parallax can be positive or negative depending on whether the computer-generated object appears to be behind the screen (positive parallax) or if it appears to be in front of the screen (negative parallax).
"In the real world, the amount of parallax between a viewer's left and right eyes is determined by two parameters, which are essentially fixed: the spacing between the eyes of the viewer and the distance from the viewer to the object. However, when composing stereo for a computer-animated scene, a filmmaker (e.g., a director or stereographer) can adjust a broader range of stereoscopic parameters (scene parameters) to control the perception of depth in a computer-generated scene. In particular, a filmmaker may be able to adjust scene parameters that determine the camera position, camera separation, camera convergence, and focal length of the lens to increase or decrease the stereo effect (perceived depth of a computer-generated object in a computer-generated scene).
"However, providing too much flexibility in the variability of too many scene parameters may make it difficult for the filmmaker to control or optimize the stereo effect for each shot in a computer-animated sequence. In one traditional solution, many of the scene parameters are fixed or only allowed to vary within a range of hard limits. The fixed values or hard limits serve as a rule-of-thumb for filmmakers, but do not guarantee that stereo effect is satisfactory or comfortable to view by an audience. Additionally, limiting the scene parameters to a fixed value or fixed range of values may under-utilize the design space when composing a computer-generated scene. In particular, fixed ranges limit the filmmaker's ability to make trade-offs between the interrelated scene parameters, which may limit the ability to produce dynamic three-dimensional effects.
"Another traditional solution is to provide the director or stereographer with direct control over the scene parameters for each scene in a film. This approach also has drawbacks in that it may be difficult to fine tune all of the scene parameters to achieve the desired amount of stereo effect. Too little stereo effect and the objects in the scene will appear flat. Too much stereo effect and the objects may appear distorted or the scene may become uncomfortable to view. Additionally, because this approach relies on manual input, the stereo effect may be inconsistent throughout the film sequence, especially when stereo adjustments are applied to a particular scene but not to others.
"What is needed is a technique for consistently achieving an optimal stereo effect without the drawbacks of the traditional approaches discussed above."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "One exemplary embodiment includes a method for determining a user-defined stereo effect for a computer-generated scene. A set of bounded-parallax constraints including a near-parallax value and a far-parallax value is obtained. A stereo-volume value is obtained, wherein the stereo-volume value represents a percentage of parallax. A stereo-shift value is also obtained, wherein the stereo-shift value represents a distance across one of: an area associated with a camera sensor of a pair of stereoscopic cameras adapted to capture a stereoscopic image of the computer-generated scene; and a screen adapted to depict the stereoscopic image of the computer-generated scene. A creative near-parallax value is calculated based on the stereo-shift value and the product of the stereo-volume and the near-parallax value. A creative far-parallax value is also calculated based on the stereo-shift value and the product of the stereo-volume and the far-parallax value. The creative near-parallax value and creative far-parallax value are stored in a computer memory as the user-defined stereo effect.
"In some embodiments, each camera of the pair of stereoscopic cameras is positioned relative to each other based on the creative far-parallax value and the creative near-parallax value. A stereoscopic image of the computer-generated scene is also created with the pair of stereoscopic cameras and stored in computer memory.
"In some embodiments, a camera separation value and a convergence value are calculated for the pair of stereoscopic cameras based on the creative near-parallax and creative far-parallax values. The camera separation value and the convergence value are stored in computer memory. Each camera of the pair of stereoscopic cameras is positioned relative to each other within the computer-generated scene based on the camera separation value and the convergence value. In some embodiments, a camera sensor of the pair of stereoscopic cameras is positioned within the computer-generated scene based on the camera separation value and the convergence value.
"In some embodiments, the stereo-volume value is specified as a percentage such that: values greater than 100 percent correspond to an amplification of a stereo effect, and values less than 100 percent correspond to an attenuation of the stereo effect. The stereo-volume value and stereo-shift values may be obtained as input from a graphical user interface. The stereo-volume value and stereo-shift values may also be obtained from computer memory.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
"FIG. 1 depicts a stereoscopically filmed, computer-generated scene.
"FIGS. 2A and 2B depict exemplary configurations for stereoscopically filming a computer-generated scene.
"FIG. 2C depicts an exemplary configuration for displaying a stereoscopically filmed scene.
"FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary process for determining a set of scene parameters using baseline stereo settings.
"FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary computer-animated scene filmed by a pair of stereoscopic cameras.
"FIG. 5 depicts an exemplary process for adjusting a set of scene parameters based on a user's selection of stereo volume and stereo shift.
"FIG. 6 depicts an exemplary computer system."
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