Incredible Editing Technique Lets You Turn 2D Objects in a Photo Into 3D Objects You Can Manipulate

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are blowing minds with a new image editing method that allows you to transform a 2D object in a photo into a 3D model that you can then move around and manipulate however you’d like.

Spin it, flip it, twist it, basically anything the game Bop It used to let you do, you can do to this newly-rendered 3D object (well… except bop it… but I’m sure they’re working on that).

Demonstrated in the video above and explained in more depth in the video below, the technique uses readily available 3D models online to convert day-to-day objects in a photo from two to three dimensions.

Then, thanks to the data pulled off the Internet, you can manipulate the object even if it shows parts of it that were not originally visible in the photograph while the software maintains “plausible shadows and illumination.”

According to the paper — which you can read in its entirety here if you so desire — the point was to take image editing beyond what even the most powerful 2D editing programs (read: Photoshop) could do. From the abstract:

We demonstrate our system by producing object manipulations that would be impossible in traditional 2D photo-editing programs, such as turning a car over, making a paper-crane flap its wings, or manipulating airplanes in a historical photograph to change its story.


Check out the videos above to see the technique in action, head over to the CMU press release to read up on how it all works in simpler terms than the full paper linked above, and then drop us a line in the comments to let us know what you think.

(via Engadget)