The Plenoptic Function and the Elements of Early Vision

Edward H. Adelson and James R. Bergen

Published in
Computational Models of Visual Processing (pp. 3-20)
Eds: M. Landy and J. Anthony Movshon
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (1991).
Our interest here is to derive the visual elements in a systematic way and to show how they are related to the structure of visual information in the world. We will show that all the basic visual measurements can be considered to characterize local change along one or more dimensions of a single function that describes the structure of the information in the light impinging on an observer. Since this function describes everything that can be seen, we call it the plenoptic function (from plenus, complete or full, and optic). Once we have defined this function, the measurement of various underlying visual properties such as motion, color, and orientation fall out of the analysis automatically.