EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.

Dr. Michael Cohen

Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research


Finding Beauty in an Image Stack




Digital photography provides a new freedom over traditional film. Images are almost free. Pixels within images are quickly becoming more plentiful. But aside from increasing the chances that at least one snapshot of scene will be a good one, few tools have been built to help the photographer find the beauty lying in the whole stack of images.

Artists have always found ways in many media to create beauty and meaning from their observations. This talk will draw its inspiration from the art world to aid in the development of a set of new tools for combining multiple images. These include combining images of one or more scenes taken from multiple angles, at multiple times, under different lighting conditions, or exposures. Newly developed technologies (high dynamic range, graph cut, Poisson blending) will be discussed that provide increasing possibilities both for the artist and for the casual photographer.


Michael F. Cohen , Senior Researcher, joined Microsoft Research in 1994 from Princeton University where he served on the faculty of Computer Science. Michael received The 1998 SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award for his contributions to the Radiosity method for image synthesis. Dr. Cohen also served as paper's chair for SIGGRAPH '98.

Michael received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Utah. He also holds undergraduate degrees in Art and Civil Engineering from Beloit College and Rutgers University respectively, and an M.S. in Computer Graphics from Cornell. Dr. Cohen also served on the Architecture faculty at Cornell University and was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah. His work at the University of Utah focused on spacetime control for linked figure animation. He is perhaps better known for his work on the radiosity method for realistic image synthesis as discussed in his recent book "Radiosity and Image Synthesis" (co-authored by John R. Wallace). Michael has published and presented his work internationally in these areas.

At Microsoft, Dr. Cohen has worked on a number of projects ranging from image based rendering, to animation, to camera control, to more artistic non-photorealistic rendering. One project focuses on the problem of image based rendering; capturing the complete flow of light from an object for later rendering from arbitrary vantage points. This work, dubbed "The Lumigraph" is analogous to creating a digital hologram. He has since extended this work through the construction of "Layered Depth Images" that allow manipulation on a PC. Michael also is continuing his work on linked figure animation. He and colleagues have focusing on means to allow simulated creatures to portray their emotional state, and to automatically transition between verbs. Recent work also includes creating new methods for non-photorealistic rendering, low bandwidth teleconferencing, technologies for combining a set of "image stacks", as well as developing new approaches to the low level stereo vision.

His work can be found at: