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Immersive VR Video Creation from 360° Videos


Department of Computer Science

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Dr Christian Richardt No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Bath United Kingdom Computer Graphics Computer Vision Machine Learning

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following funded PhD project supervised by Dr Christian Richardt in the Department of Computer Science.  The University is located in a UNESCO World Heritage city, providing a vibrant research environment in one of the most beautiful areas in the UK.

Funding is available to candidates who qualify for Home fee status. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rules governing fee status have changed and, therefore, candidates from the EU/EEA are advised to check their eligibility before applying. Please see the Funding Eligibility section below for more information.

The successful student will be part of the Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA) which performs world-leading multi-disciplinary research in Intelligent Visual and Interactive Technology. Funded by the EPSRC and the University of Bath, CAMERA exists to accelerate the impact of fundamental research being undertaken at the University in the Departments of Computer Science, Health and Psychology.

Overview of the Research:

Virtual reality photography and video is a rapidly evolving field within visual computing (see Richardt et al. 2020 for a survey). To feel truly immersed in virtual reality, one needs to be able to freely look around within a virtual environment and see it from the viewpoints of one’s own eyes. Full immersion requires that viewers see the correct views of an environment at all times. As viewers move their heads, the objects they see should move relative to each other, with different speeds depending on their distance to the viewer. This is called motion parallax and is a vital depth cue for the human visual system that is entirely missing from existing 360° VR video.

The goal of this project is to capture the real world with a single 360° video camera and to recreate its appearance for new, previously unseen views, to enable more immersive virtual reality video experiences. To do this, the project aims to develop new monocular depth estimation techniques for reconstructing dynamic scene geometry from 360° video input, and novel-view synthesis techniques that can produce high-quality, temporally coherent, time-varying VR video of dynamic real-world environments. Particularly important are the convincing reconstruction of visual dynamics, such as moving people, cars and trees. This experience will provide improved motion parallax and depth perception to the viewer (like Bertel et al., 2020) to ensure unparalleled realism and immersion.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First-Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject, or a Master’s degree in visual computing, computer science, or a related discipline. A strong mathematical background and strong previous programming experience, preferably in C++ and/or Python, is required. Candidates must have a strong interest in visual computing, and previous experience in computer vision, computer graphics, deep learning and image processing is highly desirable.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Christian Richardt ([Email Address Removed]).

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Computer Science.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Funding Eligibility:

In order to be considered for the available studentship, you must qualify as a Home student.  In determining Home student status, we follow the UK government’s fee regulations and guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). Further information may also be found within the university’s fee status guidance.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for Home fees and funding.


Funding Notes

A studentship includes Home tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3 years. Eligibility criteria apply – see Funding Eligibility section above.

References

Tobias Bertel, Mingze Yuan, Reuben Lindroos and Christian Richardt, “OmniPhotos: Casual 360° VR Photography”, ACM Transactions on Graphics, 2020.
Christian Richardt, James Tompkin and Gordon Wetzstein, “Capture, Reconstruction, and Representation of the Visual Real World for Virtual Reality”, Book chapter in Real VR – Immersive Digital Reality, Springer 2020.
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