Refocusable Gigapixel Panoramas for Immersive VR Experiences


There have been significant advances in capturing gigapixel panoramas (GPP). However, solutions for viewing GPPs on head-mounted displays (HMDs) are lagging: an immersive experience requires ultra-fast rendering while directly loading a GPP onto the GPU is infeasible due to limited texture memory capacity. In this paper, we present a novel out-of-core rendering technique that supports not only classic panning, tilting, and zooming but also dynamic refocusing for viewing a GPP on HMD. Inspired by the network package transmission mechanisms in distributed visualization, our approach employs hierarchical image tiling and on-demand data updates across the main and the GPU memory. We further present a multi-resolution rendering scheme and a refocused light field rendering technique based on RGBD GPPs with minimal memory overhead. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate that our technique is highly efficient and reliable, able to achieve ultra-high frame rates (> 50 fps) even on low-end GPUs. With an embedded gaze tracker, our technique enables immersive panorama viewing experiences with unprecedented resolutions, field-of-view, and focus variations while maintaining smooth spatial, angular, and focal transitions.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics