Intel has released OpenLF, an Open-Source light-field mapping (LFM) toolkit which lets developers build 3D applications that correctly model the way light reflects off of real objects and surfaces. The tool is based on light-field mapping research by Wei-Chao Chen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was further optimized by an Intel team in Russia. LFM increases the level of photo-realism in 3D animation by modeling the reflective properties of light as it interacts with 3D objects and environments -- "like a ray of sunlight reflecting off of a bronze statue".
The toolkit consists of software for creating 3D images from digital photos and code for playback of the LFM objects. Developers can use the code as-is or modify it for use in their applications.
Intel says it is working with graphics-hardware manufacturers and 3D image scanning companies to assure that LFM is compatible with future graphics technology and scanned images, and the company is also working with Stanford University on technology to compress and stream light fields.