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Generate sidelight shadows from depth info in LiDAR file

Explorer ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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An idea for a shadow tool:

Sidelight gives us the shadows and appearance of depth that can make an image more interesting than flat front light; sometimes flat light is all we have at that time.  There's no way to fix that without knowing what is nearer and closer in the image, and therefore what casts a shadow over what.

Some smartphones now have LiDAR sensors that can measure distances to a grid of points in the image and capture that at the same time as the photo for use in VR.

Using the depth info from the LiDAR file, plus a user choice of the direction of shadows they would like created, a mask of gray tones could be generated that selectively darkens areas in the image to generate the illusion of the shadows that sidelight creates.

The mask would darken pixels that are slightly further distant (but not greatly further in the distance, the nearby tree won't cast a shadow on the building a mile away) from bright zones, in the direction of shadow we want across the image, with darkening closer to the object and become lighter as the side distance increases.

Conversely, the unshadow version of the tool could reduce deep shadows if good data is in the raw file.

 

It would be a bit like a gradient mask, but with a strenght of shadow feature added to it.

An idea for Adobe to look into, I don't know if the grid of LiDAR data is dense enough, and has sufficient distance resolution, to do this yet!

Andy

 

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2 Comments
Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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@Andy Fraser Adobe officially ended 3D support in Photoshop with version 22.2. I doubt anything regarding LiDAR or VR would be intergrated back into Photoshop in lieu of Adobe Aero or Substance Designer/Painter.

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Explorer ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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I haven't looked to see what Aero or Substance Designer do, but I don't think they're equivalent to my idea for a shadow generator.  It does use dimensional data from the LiDAR file, but the resulting PSD file is still just a 2D image but now it appears to have some shadows from sunlight to the side when it was originally a shot taken on a dull overcast day.

The "shadowing gradient" tool might be more appropriate for the Lightroom user base, but it's PS that seems to be more advanced in complex tools.

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