Computational Schlieren Photography with Light Field Probes

Gordon Wetzstein*, Wolfgang Heidrich, Ramesh Raskar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We introduce a new approach to capturing refraction in transparent media, which we call light field background oriented Schlieren photography. By optically coding the locations and directions of light rays emerging from a light field probe, we can capture changes of the refractive index field between the probe and a camera or an observer. Our prototype capture setup consists of inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware, including inkjet-printed transparencies, lenslet arrays, and a conventional camera. By carefully encoding the color and intensity variations of 4D light field probes, we show how to code both spatial and angular information of refractive phenomena. Such coding schemes are demonstrated to allow for a new, single image approach to reconstructing transparent surfaces, such as thin solids or surfaces of fluids. The captured visual information is used to reconstruct refractive surface normals and a sparse set of control points independently from a single photograph.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Vision
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Computational photography
  • Fluid imaging
  • Light transport
  • Shape from x

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Computational Schlieren Photography with Light Field Probes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this