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How can I convert from the pixel position in an image with orthographic projection to 3D "world" coordinates?

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Sudarsanan A K
Sudarsanan A K el 22 de Dic. de 2023
Hi John,
The MATLAB Answer thread that you mentioned outlines a method to convert pixel positions in an image to 3D world coordinates under the assumption of a perspective projection. The steps involve reversing the graphics pipeline used to project 3D points onto a 2D image plane.
However, you are particularly interested in orthographic projection. The process for orthographic projection is different because it does not involve perspective division (step 7 in the forward transformation and step 3 in the reverse transformation), and the projection matrix is different.
For orthographic projection, the projection matrix does not skew the coordinates as a function of depth (z-value). Instead, it scales and translates the coordinates directly. The reverse process for orthographic projection would involve:
  1. Converting the pixel location from viewport coordinates to normalized device coordinates (NDC).
  2. Using the inverse of the orthographic projection matrix to transform the NDC back to camera space coordinates.
  3. Applying the inverse of the camera's view transformation matrix to convert camera space coordinates back to world space coordinates.
Below is a sample working example in MATLAB that demonstrates how to convert a pixel position in an image to a 3D ray in world coordinates using an orthographic projection.
% Step 1: Define a point in world coordinates
x = [1; 2; 3]; % Column vector representing a point in 3D space
% Convert the model's Cartesian coordinates to homogeneous coordinates
xHomogeneous = [x; 1];
% Step 2: Perform a model transform
% Create an axes
figure;
a = axes;
% Get the limits of the axes
xl = xlim(a);
yl = ylim(a);
zl = zlim(a);
% Calculate the scale factors
xscale = 1/diff(xl);
yscale = 1/diff(yl);
zscale = 1/diff(zl);
% Construct the model transform matrix
model_xfm = [xscale, 0, 0, -xl(1)*xscale; ...
0, yscale, 0, -yl(1)*yscale; ...
0, 0, zscale, -zl(1)*zscale; ...
0, 0, 0, 1];
% Step 3: Obtain the view matrix
v = view(a);
% Step 4: Convert the coordinates from right-handed to left-handed
leftHandedToRightHanded = [ 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0; ...
0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0; ...
0.0 0.0 -1.0 0.0; ...
0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0];
view_xfm = leftHandedToRightHanded * v;
% Step 5: Construct the viewport
old_units = a.Units;
a.Units = 'pixels';
viewport = a.Position;
a.Units = old_units;
ar = viewport(3)/viewport(4);
% Step 6: Compute the orthogonal projection transform
% Define the orthogonal projection limits
n = 0.1; % Near clipping plane
f = 10; % Far clipping plane
r = xl(2);
l = xl(1);
t = yl(2);
b = yl(1);
% Construct the orthogonal projection transform matrix
proj_xfm = [2/(r-l), 0, 0, -(r+l)/(r-l); ...
0, 2/(t-b), 0, -(t+b)/(t-b); ...
0, 0, -2/(f-n), -(f+n)/(f-n); ...
0, 0, 0, 1];
% Step 7: Apply the transformations
yHomogeneous = proj_xfm * view_xfm * model_xfm * xHomogeneous;
% No perspective division is needed for orthographic projection
yNDC = yHomogeneous(1:3);
% Convert to viewport coordinates
yViewport = [viewport(1) + 0.5*viewport(3)*(1 + yNDC(1)), ...
viewport(2) + 0.5*viewport(4)*(1 + yNDC(2))];
% The rest of the code for reversing the process is not necessary for the explanation of orthographic projection.
% However, if you wish to reverse the process, you would simply apply the inverse transformations without perspective division.
% Now, let's reverse the process
% Step 1: Pick a pixel location and convert to NDC
u = yViewport(1);
v = yViewport(2);
uNDC = 2*(u - viewport(1))/viewport(3) - 1;
vNDC = 2*(v - viewport(2))/viewport(4) - 1;
% Step 2: Expand to two 4D homogeneous coordinates
% These points are on the near and far planes respectively
pixNear = [uNDC; vNDC; -1; 1]; % Near plane point
pixFar = [uNDC; vNDC; 1; 1]; % Far plane point
% Step 3: Reverse the forward transformation for both points
total_xfm = proj_xfm * view_xfm * model_xfm;
pNear = total_xfm \ pixNear;
pFar = total_xfm \ pixFar;
% Step 4: Since there is no perspective division in orthographic projection,
% we can directly use the x, y, and z components of the transformed points
pNear = pNear(1:3);
pFar = pFar(1:3);
% Step 5: Find a direction vector connecting these two points
% This step is not needed for orthographic projection, as the direction vector
% would be parallel to the view direction and does not give us meaningful information.
% Step 6: The points pNear and pFar already define the line segment within the view volume.
% We can use them directly to plot the line segment.
% Step 7: Plot the line in a new figure with 3D axes
figure;
ax = axes('projection', 'orthographic'); % Explicitly create a 3D axes with orthographic projection
plot3(ax, [pNear(1) pFar(1)], ...
[pNear(2) pFar(2)], ...
[pNear(3) pFar(3)], ...
'k-', 'LineWidth', 2);
xlabel('X');
ylabel('Y');
zlabel('Z');
title('Orthographic Projection Line');
grid on;
axis equal;
Further, kindly refer to the answer of the following MATLAB Answer question for useful resources in this context
I hope this helps!

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