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Visual Distortions in 360-degree Videos

Roberto G. de A. Azevedo
Francesca De Simone
Ivan Janatra
Pascal Frossard
IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology (2019)


Omnidirectional (or 360-degree) images and videos are emergent signals being used in many areas such as robotics and virtual/augmented reality. In particular, for virtual reality applications, they allow an immersive experience in which the user can interactively navigate through a scene with three degrees of freedom, wearing a head-mounted display. Current approaches for capturing, processing, delivering, and displaying 360-degree content, however, present many open technical challenges and introduce several types of distortions in the visual signal. Some of the distortions are specific to the nature of 360-degree images and often differ from those encountered in classical visual communication frameworks. This paper provides a first comprehensive review of the most common visual distortions that alter 360-degree signals going through the different processing elements of the visual communication pipeline. While their impact on viewers’ visual perception and the immersive experience at large is still unknown –thus, it is an open research topic– this review serves the purpose of proposing a taxonomy of the visual distortions that can be encountered in 360-degree signals. Their underlying causes in the end-to-end 360-degree content distribution pipeline are identified. This taxonomy is essential as a basis for comparing different processing techniques, such as visual enhancement, encoding, and streaming strategies, and allowing the effective design of new algorithms and applications. It is also a useful resource for the design of psycho-visual studies aiming to characterize human perception of 360-degree content in interactive and immersive applications.

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