DIB-R++: Learning to Predict Lighting and Material with a Hybrid Differentiable Renderer

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Wenzheng Chen, Joey Litalien, Jun Gao, Zian Wang, Clement Fuji Tsang, Sameh Khamis, Or Litany, Sanja Fidler


We consider the challenging problem of predicting intrinsic object properties from a single image by exploiting differentiable renderers. Many previous learning-based approaches for inverse graphics adopt rasterization-based renderers and assume naive lighting and material models, which often fail to account for non-Lambertian, specular reflections commonly observed in the wild. In this work, we propose DIBR++, a hybrid differentiable renderer which supports these photorealistic effects by combining rasterization and ray-tracing, taking the advantage of their respective strengths---speed and realism. Our renderer incorporates environmental lighting and spatially-varying material models to efficiently approximate light transport, either through direct estimation or via spherical basis functions. Compared to more advanced physics-based differentiable renderers leveraging path tracing, DIBR++ is highly performant due to its compact and expressive shading model, which enables easy integration with learning frameworks for geometry, reflectance and lighting prediction from a single image without requiring any ground-truth. We experimentally demonstrate that our approach achieves superior material and lighting disentanglement on synthetic and real data compared to existing rasterization-based approaches and showcase several artistic applications including material editing and relighting.