VaxNeRF: Revisiting the Classic for Voxel-Accelerated Neural Radiance Field

Neural Radiance Field (NeRF) is a popular method in data-driven 3D reconstruction. Given its simplicity and high quality rendering, many NeRF applications are being developed... However, NeRF's big limitation is its slow speed. Many attempts are made to speeding up NeRF training and inference, including intricate code-level optimization and caching, use of sophisticated data structures, and amortization through multi-task and meta learning. In this work, we revisit the basic building blocks of NeRF through the lens of classic techniques before NeRF. We propose Voxel-Accelearated NeRF (VaxNeRF), integrating NeRF with visual hull, a classic 3D reconstruction technique only requiring binary foreground-background pixel labels per image. Visual hull, which can be optimized in about 10 seconds, can provide coarse in-out field separation to omit substantial amounts of network evaluations in NeRF. We provide a clean fully-pythonic, JAX-based implementation on the popular JaxNeRF codebase, consisting of only about 30 lines of code changes and a modular visual hull subroutine, and achieve about 2-8x faster learning on top of the highly-performative JaxNeRF baseline with zero degradation in rendering quality. With sufficient compute, this effectively brings down full NeRF training from hours to 30 minutes. We hope VaxNeRF -- a careful combination of a classic technique with a deep method (that arguably replaced it) -- can empower and accelerate new NeRF extensions and applications, with its simplicity, portability, and reliable performance gains. Codes are available at https://github.com/naruya/VaxNeRF . read more

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