Neural Fields in Visual Computing and Beyond

Recent advances in machine learning have created increasing interest in solving visual computing problems using a class of coordinate-based neural networks that parametrize physical properties of scenes or objects across space and time. These methods, which we call neural fields, have seen successful application in the synthesis of 3D shapes and image, animation of human bodies, 3D reconstruction, and pose estimation. However, due to rapid progress in a short time, many papers exist but a comprehensive review and formulation of the problem has not yet emerged. In this report, we address this limitation by providing context, mathematical grounding, and an extensive review of literature on neural fields. This report covers research along two dimensions. In Part I, we focus on techniques in neural fields by identifying common components of neural field methods, including different representations, architectures, forward mapping, and generalization methods. In Part II, we focus on applications of neural fields to different problems in visual computing, and beyond (e.g., robotics, audio). Our review shows the breadth of topics already covered in visual computing, both historically and in current incarnations, demonstrating the improved quality, flexibility, and capability brought by neural fields methods. Finally, we present a companion website that contributes a living version of this review that can be continually updated by the community.

Yiheng Xie (Brown University / Unity)
Shunsuke Saito (Meta Reality Labs Research)
Or Litany (NVIDIA)
Shiqin Yan (Brown University)
Numair Khan (Brown University)
Federico Tombari (Google / Technical University of Munich)
James Tompkin (Brown University)
Vincent Sitzmann (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Srinath Sridhar (Brown University)
Publication Date