"Techniques for Placing Masking Window Objects in a Computer-Generated Scene for Stereoscopic Computer-Animation" in Patent Application Approval Process
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The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to generating stereoscopic images for computer animation, and more specifically to using window objects to avoid clipping a computer-generated object near the edge of an image.
"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 general, stereoscopic filming techniques use parallax to take advantage of the brain's ability to judge depth based on differences between the visual input from left and right eyes. However, if an object depicted in a stereoscopically filmed scene is clipped by the edge of the image or screen, the viewer may be presented with a visual paradox. As previously explained, an object that is displayed with negative parallax will appear to protrude from the screen plane. However, if a portion of the object falls outside of the display screen area, the object will appear to be hidden or masked behind the edge of the screen, which is behind the protruding object. This effect may be visually distracting, detracts from stereo effect of the displayed image, and is generally undesirable.
"What is needed is a technique for preventing or minimizing the effect of this visual paradox in stereoscopically filmed images."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "One exemplary embodiment includes a computer-implemented method for placing a window object within a computer-generated scene. The computer-generated scene includes a pair of stereoscopic cameras adapted to capture an image of at least one computer-generated object and the window object. A left portion and right portion of the image along the left and right edges of the image are obtained. The nearest computer-generated object to the pair of stereoscopic cameras within the left and right portions of the image is identified. The window object is placed between the identified computer-generated object and the stereoscopic cameras at an offset distance from the identified computer-generated object. The location of the window object is stored in computer memory.
"In some embodiments, a stereoscopic image of the computer-generated scene is created using the pair of stereoscopic cameras, wherein a portion of the computer-generated object is hidden behind the stereo window; and storing, in the computer memory, the stereoscopic image. In some cases, the window object separated from the computer-generated object by an offset that is less than a width of the computer-generated object. In some cases, the left and right portions of the image are 48 pixels wide. In some cases, the left and right portions of the image are 60 percent of height of the image.
"In a typical embodiment, the window object comprises two vertical bar-shaped surfaces. The vertical bar-shaped surfaces are depicted, respectively near a left and right edge portion of a stereoscopic image produced using the pair of stereoscopic cameras.
"In another exemplary embodiment, a timeline for a film sequence is obtained. The timeline comprises a plurality of time entries. For each of at least two time entries of the plurality of time entries, a left portion and right portion of the image are obtained along the left and right edges of the image. The nearest computer-generated object to the pair of stereoscopic cameras within the left and right portions of the image is identified. The window object is placed between the identified computer-generated object and the stereoscopic cameras at an offset distance from the identified computer-generated object. The location of the window object is stored in computer memory.
"In another exemplary embodiment, a timeline for a film sequence is obtained. The timeline comprises a plurality of time entries. A window object location distribution is obtained, wherein the window object location distribution comprises one window object location for at least two time entries of the plurality of time entries. A statistical measurement of the window object location distribution is calculated. If the statistical measurement is less than a threshold value, then a static window object location is calculated based on a statistical mean of the window object location distribution. The static window object location is stored in computer memory as the window object location for each of the at least two time entries. If the statistical measurement is greater than or equal to a threshold value, a set of smoothed window object locations is calculated based on the window object location distribution and a smoothing function. The set of smoothed window object locations are stored in computer memory as the window object locations for each of the at least two time entries. In some cases, the smoothing function is a low-pass filter.
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 automating the placement of a window object in a computer-animated scene.
"FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary image and left and right portions for placing a window object.
"FIG. 5 depicts an exemplary process for filtering a set of scene parameters for a sequence of images in a film sequence.
"FIG. 6 depicts exemplary stereo curves for a film sequence.
"FIG. 7 depicts an exemplary computer system."
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