How to use the Image Processor

Uploading the Images: Click on the file input to open the file dialog. Select the image files you want to process. You can select multiple files at once by holding down the Ctrl key (or Command key on MacOS) while clicking on the files. After you have selected all the images, click on the Open button to start the processing.
Viewing the Images and Data: After the images have been processed, they will be displayed below the file input along with their associated depth map and raw source if they exist. The images will be grouped according to the file from which they were extracted. Each group will contain the original image, the depth map, and the raw source.

Extracting Depth Maps from Images: A Comprehensive Guide

A depth map is a critical component in computer vision and 3D modeling. It is a 2D image where each pixel's value corresponds to the estimated distance of the corresponding point in the scene from the observer's viewpoint. Depth maps are an essential step in generating 3D data from 2D images, enabling us to perceive the world more like how our eyes do - in three dimensions.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on extracting depth maps from images. We'll discuss various methods, from simple triangulation techniques to the latest deep learning-based methods.

Basics of Depth Maps

The creation of depth maps is deeply ingrained in stereoscopy, a technique for creating the illusion of depth. Stereoscopy is based on the principle of binocular vision, where our brain correlates the information it receives from our two eyes to estimate depth. Similarly, depth estimation techniques use two or more images from different perspectives to generate depth maps.


Triangulation is the simplest method of depth estimation. By calculating the displacement (or "disparity") of pixels between two images taken from different perspectives, we can estimate the depth of each pixel.

The main steps for depth map extraction through triangulation include:

Stereo Image Pair Acquisition: The first step is capturing two images of the same scene from different perspectives.

Feature Matching: Identifying and matching similar features in both images.

Disparity Calculation: Computing the difference in positions of corresponding features.

Depth Calculation: Estimating the depth of each point based on its disparity and the known distance between the two perspectives.

Triangulation can be a quick way to get a depth map, but it doesn't work well with texture-less or repetitive patterns because of the difficulty in matching features.

Depth Estimation Using Structured Light

Structured light depth estimation involves projecting a specific light pattern onto the scene and then capturing the reflected light with a camera. By comparing the captured pattern with the projected pattern, it's possible to estimate the depth information.

This technique is accurate and works well in a controlled environment, but it can be affected by lighting conditions and the reflectivity of objects.

Depth Estimation using Time of Flight

Time of Flight (ToF) cameras emit a light signal and measure the time it takes for the signal to return after reflecting off objects. This time is used to calculate the distance from the camera to the object.

ToF cameras can provide real-time depth estimation, but they are expensive and can be affected by lighting conditions and object reflectivity.

Depth Estimation Using Machine Learning

With the advancement of artificial intelligence, depth estimation has been revolutionized. Machine Learning and, specifically, deep learning models are now capable of predicting depth maps from a single image, a task known as monocular depth estimation.

These models are trained on large datasets containing pairs of 2D images and corresponding depth maps. Once trained, they can predict depth maps from 2D images. Popular deep learning architectures for monocular depth estimation include U-Net, ResNet, and DenseNet.

These methods can produce more detailed depth maps and don't require stereo image pairs, structured light, or expensive hardware. However, they do need a significant amount of computation power and a large labeled dataset for training.

Depth map extraction from images is a key task in computer vision, enabling the 3D representation of 2D scenes. While traditional methods like triangulation, structured light, and Time of Flight provide valuable solutions, the advent of machine learning has brought about even more robust and versatile depth estimation techniques. By understanding and leveraging these techniques, we open up a myriad of possibilities in fields as diverse as robotics, augmented reality, and autonomous driving.

Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, understanding the principles of depth estimation will empower you to transform flat images into 3D landscapes and provide depth to your projects.