I saw this and thought it was very cool and wanted to share. The team of Kevin Karsch, Varsha Hedau, David Forsyth, and Derek Hoiem from UIUC have developed software that allows users to fairly quickly and easily insert synthetic objects into existing photographs. And the results are fairly convincing, click on the image to the left for a larger version of a few before & after shots. This is the abstract of their paper:
We propose a method to realistically insert synthetic objects into existing photographs without requiring access to the scene or any additional scene measurements. With a single image and a small amount of annotation, our method creates a physical model of the scene that is suitable for realistically rendering synthetic objects with diffuse, specular, and even glowing materials while accounting for lighting interactions between the objects and the scene. We demonstrate in a user study that synthetic images produced by our method are confusable with real scenes, even for people who believe they are good at telling the difference. Further, our study shows that our method is competitive with other insertion methods while requiring less scene information. We also collected new illumination and reflectance datasets; renderings produced by our system compare well to ground truth. Our system has applications in the movie and gaming industry, as well as home decorating and user content creation, among others.
The video below illustrates the system and several examples. It looks like something even a novice could use without much practice.
Via jwz’s blog.