Image courtesy Google It does seem like magic, but it’s not without limitations. The captures are generated in this case by a custom lightfield camera which spins an array of GoPro cameras in a circle to capture a spherical area about two feet wide—you can view the scene from anywhere inside that sphere, but if you stick your head outside of it, the world will go blank.

That’s because the cameras effectively capture all of the light rays intersecting the sphere on all sides, and then algorithms recreate the view from any point within the sphere for your viewing pleasure. A larger viewing area can be achieved with a larger camera.

Welcome to Light Fields features some very impressive light field imagery. At its best you’re seeing sharp, immersive views with lots of depth and reflections which convincingly react as you move your head.

But there’s some less than stellar scenes (especially if you manually delve into the app’s gallery) that show some of the challenges of capturing quality light fields. Some of the scenes are not nearly as sharp as the others, and you can sometimes spot artifacts at the edges of objects, mistaken depth information, and reflections and lighting that don’t seem to act quite right.

And there’s still the big challenge of filesizes. The handful of static light field scenes in Welcome to Light Fields clock in around 6GB total—fine for a demonstration app, but arguably too large for mass adoption. Read more from…

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