Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)
Wenzheng Chen, Huan Ling, Jun Gao, Edward Smith, Jaakko Lehtinen, Alec Jacobson, Sanja Fidler
Many machine learning models operate on images, but ignore the fact that images are 2D projections formed by 3D geometry interacting with light, in a process called rendering. Enabling ML models to understand image formation might be key for generalization. However, due to an essential rasterization step involving discrete assignment operations, rendering pipelines are non-differentiable and thus largely inaccessible to gradient-based ML techniques. In this paper, we present DIB-Render, a novel rendering framework through which gradients can be analytically computed. Key to our approach is to view rasterization as a weighted interpolation, allowing image gradients to back-propagate through various standard vertex shaders within a single framework. Our approach supports optimizing over vertex positions, colors, normals, light directions and texture coordinates, and allows us to incorporate various well-known lighting models from graphics. We showcase our approach in two ML applications: single-image 3D object prediction, and 3D textured object generation, both trained using exclusively 2D supervision.