Photo Manipulation; the act of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create an illusion or deception, Kevin Karsch, Varsha Hedau, David Forsyth and Derek Hoiem have created a method which will take this skill to a new level.
Their system works with inserting synthetic objects into existing photographs without requiring access to the scene or any additional scene measurements. In the video below you can see that with just a single image and a small amount of annotation the program creates a physical model of the scene which can then be used for realistic rendering of synthetic objects of any kind. The system automatically accounts for lighting interactions between the objects and the scene.
The video also shows the ability to animate objects within the photographs with realistic shadows and lighting taking place in real time. The more amazing feat is the study at which people believed the photographs they took were far more realistic than the source material. The video shows that even a basic user can use this system with ease, not needing anything more than a few directions to get started on animating and rendering objects into scenes. The system is geared towards the movie and gaming industry as well as home decorating and personal use.
I am very interesting in watching this system play out in the future. The ability to use real pictures of scenes and then having video games or movies take place in them remove the need for expensive time consuming renders or building of entire scenes for filming or animation and can bring about an element of reality to the viewer. Imagine if L.A. Noir or Heavy Rain was made using this software? There are many uses for this software, and I am very interested to see the final project, I can only hope that future movie and gaming companies pick up this system to make higher quality projects.
More information on the system can be found here.