Image-Based Acquisition and Modeling of Polarimetric Reflectance
In Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2020)
Realistic modeling of the reflectance distribution function (BRDF) of scene objects is a vital prerequisite for any type of physically based rendering. In the last decades, the availability of databases containing real-world material measurements has fueled considerable innovation in the development of such models. However, previous work in this area was mainly focused on increasing the visual realism of images, and hence ignored the effect of scattering on the polarization state of light, which is normally imperceptible to the human eye. Existing databases thus only capture scattered flux, or they are too directionally sparse (e.g. in-plane) to be usable for simulation.
While subtle to human observers, polarization is easily perceived by any optical sensor (e.g. using polarizing filters), providing a wealth of additional information about shape and material properties of the object under observation. Given the increasing application of rendering in the solution of inverse problems via analysis-by-synthesis and differentiation, the ability to realistically model polarized radiative transport is thus highly desirable.
Polarization depends on the wavelength of the spectrum, and thus we provide the first polarimetric BRDF (pBRDF) dataset that captures the polarimetric properties of real-world materials over the full angular domain, and at multiple wavelengths. Acquisition of such reflectance data is challenging due to the extremely large space of angular, spectral, and polarimetric configurations that must be observed, and we propose a scheme combining image-based acquisition with spectroscopic ellipsometry to perform measurements in a realistic amount of time. This process yields raw Mueller matrices, which we subsequently transform into Rusinkiewicz-parameterized pBRDFs that can be used for rendering.
Our dataset provides 25 isotropic pBRDFs spanning a wide range of appearances: diffuse/specular, metallic/dielectric, rough/smooth, and different color albedos, captured in five wavelength ranges covering the visible spectrum. We demonstrate usage of our data-driven pBRDF model in a physically based renderer that accounts for polarized interreflection, and we investigate the relationship of polarization and material appearance, providing insights into the behavior of characteristic real-world pBRDFs.