A Volumetric Method for Building Complex Models from Range Images

Brian Curless and Marc Levoy,
Proc. SIGGRAPH '96.


A number of techniques have been developed for reconstructing surfaces by integrating groups of aligned range images. A desirable set of properties for such algorithms includes: incremental updating, representation of directional uncertainty, the ability to fill gaps in the reconstruction, and robustness in the presence of outliers. Prior algorithms possess subsets of these properties. In this paper, we present a volumetric method for integrating range images that possesses all of these properties.

Our volumetric representation consists of a cumulative weighted signed distance function. Working with one range image at a time, we first scan-convert it to a distance function, then combine this with the data already acquired using a simple additive scheme. To achieve space efficiency, we employ a run-length encoding of the volume. To achieve time efficiency, we resample the range image to align with the voxel grid and traverse the range and voxel scanlines synchronously. We generate the final manifold by extracting an isosurface from the volumetric grid. We show that under certain assumptions, this isosurface is optimal in the least squares sense. To fill gaps in the model, we tessellate over the boundaries between regions seen to be empty and regions never observed.

Using this method, we are able to integrate a large number of range images (as many as 70) yielding seamless, high-detail models of up to 2.6 million triangles.

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