Navigation domain representation for interactive multiview imaging
Enabling users to interactively navigate through different viewpoints of a static scene is a new interesting functionality in 3D streaming systems. While it opens exciting perspectives towards rich multimedia applications, it requires the design of novel representations and coding techniques in order to solve the new challenges imposed by interactive navigation. In particular, the encoder must prepare a priori a compressed media stream that is flexible enough to enable the free selection of multiview navigation paths by different streaming media clients. Interactivity clearly brings new design constraints: the encoder is unaware of the exact decoding process, while the decoder has to reconstruct information from incomplete subsets of data since the server can generally not transmit images for all possible viewpoints due to resource constrains. In this paper, we propose a novel multiview data representation that permits to satisfy bandwidth and storage constraints in an interactive multiview streaming system. In particular, we partition the multiview navigation domain into segments, each of which is described by a reference image (color and depth data) and some auxiliary information. The auxiliary information enables the client to recreate any viewpoint in the navigation segment via view synthesis. The decoder is then able to navigate freely in the segment without further data request to the server; it requests additional data only when it moves to a different segment. We discuss the benefits of this novel representation in interactive navigation systems and further propose a method to optimize the partitioning of the navigation domain into independent segments, under bandwidth and storage constraints. Experimental results confirm the potential of the proposed representation; namely, our system leads to similar compression performance as classical inter-view coding, while it provides the high level of flexibility that is required for interactive streaming. Due to these unique properties, our new framework represents a promising solution for 3D data representation in novel interactive multimedia services.