Envisioning a Next Generation Extended Reality Conferencing System with Efficient Photorealistic Human Rendering

Meeting online is becoming the new normal. Creating an immersive experience for online meetings is a necessity towards more diverse and seamless environments. Efficient photorealistic rendering of human 3D dynamics is the core of immersive meetings. Current popular applications achieve real-time conferencing but fall short in delivering photorealistic human dynamics, either due to limited 2D space or the use of avatars that lack realistic interactions between participants. Recent advances in neural rendering, such as the Neural Radiance Field (NeRF), offer the potential for greater realism in metaverse meetings. However, the slow rendering speed of NeRF poses challenges for real-time conferencing. We envision a pipeline for a future extended reality metaverse conferencing system that leverages monocular video acquisition and free-viewpoint synthesis to enhance data and hardware efficiency. Towards an immersive conferencing experience, we explore an accelerated NeRF-based free-viewpoint synthesis algorithm for rendering photorealistic human dynamics more efficiently. We show that our algorithm achieves comparable rendering quality while performing training and inference 44.5% and 213% faster than state-of-the-art methods, respectively. Our exploration provides a design basis for constructing metaverse conferencing systems that can handle complex application scenarios, including dynamic scene relighting with customized themes and multi-user conferencing that harmonizes real-world people into an extended world.

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