3rd year undergraduate research project investigating the use of light fields as environment maps as an alternative to traditional spherical or cube maps.
I wrote a path trace renderer built on Intel Embree, CImg and TinyObjLoader.
The aim of the project was to investigate the possibility of using cameras like Google are developing (fxguide) to produce more accurate position dependent lighting than is possible with a simple 2D spherical environement map.
Conclusion: The hardware has a way to go and file formats and processing need industry standards before this technique can become practical for production. Once those things are in place light fields could be a valuable tool for saving artist’s time when rendering objects in some difficult lighting conditions.
More information to follow once the university has evaluated the project.