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Dr. Zi Siang See


University of newcastle




Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Extended Reality, Spherical Panorama, High Dynamic Range Imaging, Computational Photography, User Experience, Human Computer Interaction, Interaction Design

Thesis Title

Creating High Dynamic Range Spherical Panorama Images for High Fidelity 360 Degree Virtual Reality


This research explores the development of a novel method and apparatus for creating spherical panoramas enhanced with high dynamic range (HDR) for high fidelity Virtual Reality 360 degree (VR360) user experiences. The original contribution to knowledge which this study seeks to make, is a new application of human computer interaction techniques, applied in order to gauge and understand how user experience of interactive panorama images can be virtually operated with the aim of increasing fidelity, or high definition visual similarity and clarity, closest to the original scene depicted. In this context, the term ‘high fidelity’ refers to the aim of producing detailed and accurate HDR spherical panorama images which resemble the original scenes captured sufficiently to afford users a satisfactory and compelling VR360 user experience. A VR360 interactive panorama presentation using spherical panoramas can provide virtual interactivity and wider viewing coverage; with three degrees of freedom, users can look around in multiple directions within the VR360 experiences, gaining the sense of being in control of their own engagement. This degree of freedom is facilitated by the use of mobile displays or head-mount-devices. However, in terms of image reproduction, the exposure range can be a major difficulty in reproducing a high contrast real-world scene. Imaging variables caused by difficulties and obstacles can occur during the production process of spherical panorama facilitated with HDR. This may result in inaccurate image reproduction for location-based subjects, which will in turn result in a poor VR360 user experience. Such problems may include but are not limited to: parallax error, nadir angle difficulty, HDR ghosting effect, insufficient dynamic range and luminance preservation. In contrast, this study presents an HDR spherical panorama reproduction approach which can shorten the production process, reduce imaging variables, and keep technical issues to a minimum, leading to improved photographic image reproduction with fewer visual abnormalities for VR360 experiences. A user study has been conducted; this shows that the novel approach creates images which viewers prefer, on the whole, to those created using more complicated HDR methods, or to those created without the use of HDR at all. In an ideal situation for VR360 reproduction, the proposed solution and imaging workflow would allow multi-angle acquisition to be accomplished in less than a minute. The thesis is comprised of this critical exegesis of the use case study and practice-based research project as outline, with a creative component comprised of a unique set of VR360s presented using the proposed method and apparatus. I hope that the thesis will be of use to future scholars and practitioners, and to the general viewer as well.



Dr Zi Siang See has specialised over the past 10 years in the design, use and integration of interactive media, including but not limited to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) research-creation. Zi has over 15 years’ experience of working within the field of interaction design and digital media in both industry and within university institutions, nationally and internationally. These include collaborations with multinational corporations such as McDonald’s, Lafarge Cement, Servier, Leo Burnett, DDB and Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid. As an early career researcher, he has been part of various MOOC projects and been actively involved in scholarly research and international collaborations. His work has contributed to new systems, theory and studies in human-computer-interaction, education technologies and inclusive design. Some of these technical research papers were published at specialised venues such as SIGGRAPH, IEEE Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM), and the Springer’s Virtual Reality. Zi is part of the International Society on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM) as a Board of Directors committee member, supporting VSMM conferences and as a reviewer, in which role he has co-organised a number of collaborations and research workshops in VSMM. He is also the guest editor and a member of the Editorial Board for Virtual Creativity (Intellect Books), a Scopus-indexed international journal focused on emerging technologies and digital creativity. Zi completed his Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle, he has trained under the guidance of Prof Lizbeth Goodman (SMARTlab), Prof Mark Billinghurst (Emphatic Computing Lab / HIT Lab NZ), and supported by A/Prof Craig Hight (SOCI). As part of the research for his doctoral thesis focused on human-computer interaction aspects of virtual reality titled Creating High Dynamic Range Spherical Panorama Images for High Fidelity 360 Degree Virtual Reality, Zi developed a method and apparatus solution for creating high fidelity virtual reality 360 (VR360) that is free from major imaging errors and obstacles. Currently, Zi is also working on extended reality (XR) research projects in digital heritage, computational photography, medical and health sciences training.

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