Diffusion models for Single-image 3D reconstruction of deformable objects.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford


Brief description of the context of the research including the potential impact:

3D reconstruction of deformable objects has a wealth of potential applications across various fields, including AR/VR, gaming, and animal behaviour research. However, the creation and animation of these 3D models requires significant effort and expert knowledge of a 3D artist. This presents a significant barrier for creating diverse and abundant 3D environments, as well as generating 3D assets for novel object categories.

The aim of this research would be to create a deep learning model that automatically generates such assets from a single input image. This is a very practical, but challenging task as the model must have an a priori understanding of the possible shapes and appearances of the object. Collecting 3D ground-truth data to learn this prior requires significant effort. Recently, there has been a growing interest to instead learn these priors from data that are widely available: Internet images.

Learning from such data poses many challenges such as the lack of multiview constraints, noisy data, occlusions, lack of diverse viewpoints. Given these challenges, the existing state-of-the-art methods, such as MagicPony [1], are not capable of achieving accurate, high-fidelity results and are limited to specific object categories.

Novelty of the research methodology:
To address the above limitations, I plan to combine the existing approaches [1] with powerful pretrained 2D text-to-image diffusion models [2, 3]. These models have the potential to provide additional priors which would lead to more faithful 3D reconstructions. In addition, they can help the model to generalize on unseen categories without the need to collect additional training images. This work potentially would result in a novel state-of-the-art method.

Alignment to EPSRC's strategies and research areas (which EPSRC research area the project relates to) Further information on the areas can be found on http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/research/ourportfolio/researchareas/

My research will be in these area - Computer Vision, Deep Learning, AI Robustness and AI Ethics.

Any companies or collaborators involved: I am also part of the ELLIS PhD program which is a pan European programme, so ELLIS will also be involved.


[1] Wu, S., Li, R., Jakab, T., Rupprecht, C. and Vedaldi, A., 2022. MagicPony: Learning Articulated 3D Animals in the Wild. arXiv preprint arXiv:2211.12497.

[2] Rombach, R., Blattmann, A., Lorenz, D., Esser, P. and Ommer, B., 2022. High-resolution image synthesis with latent diffusion models. In Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (pp. 10684-10695).

[3] Poole, B., Jain, A., Barron, J.T. and Mildenhall, B., 2022. Dreamfusion: Text-to-3d using 2d diffusion. arXiv preprint arXiv:2209.14988.

Planned Impact

AIMS's impact will be felt across domains of acute need within the UK. We expect AIMS to benefit: UK economic performance, through start-up creation; existing UK firms, both through research and addressing skills needs; UK health, by contributing to cancer research, and quality of life, through the delivery of autonomous vehicles; UK public understanding of and policy related to the transformational societal change engendered by autonomous systems.

Autonomous systems are acknowledged by essentially all stakeholders as important to the future UK economy. PwC claim that there is a £232 billion opportunity offered by AI to the UK economy by 2030 (10% of GDP). AIMS has an excellent track record of leadership in spinout creation, and will continue to foster the commercial projects of its students, through the provision of training in IP, licensing and entrepreneurship. With the help of Oxford Science Innovation (investment fund) and Oxford University Innovation (technology transfer office), student projects will be evaluated for commercial potential.

AIMS will also concretely contribute to UK economic competitiveness by meeting the UK's needs for experts in autonomous systems. To meet this need, AIMS will train cohorts with advanced skills that span the breadth of AI, machine learning, robotics, verification and sensor systems. The relevance of the training to the needs of industry will be ensured by the industrial partnerships at the heart of AIMS. These partnerships will also ensure that AIMS will produce research that directly targets UK industrial needs. Our partners span a wide range of UK sectors, including energy, transport, infrastructure, factory automation, finance, health, space and other extreme environments.

The autonomous systems that AIMS will enable also offer the prospect of epochal change in the UK's quality of life and health. As put by former Digital Secretary Matt Hancock, "whether it's improving travel, making banking easier or helping people live longer, AI is already revolutionising our economy and our society." AIMS will help to realise this potential through its delivery of trained experts and targeted research. In particular, two of the four Grand Challenge missions in the UK Industrial Strategy highlight the positive societal impact underpinned by autonomous systems. The "Artificial Intelligence and data" challenge has as its mission to "Use data, Artificial Intelligence and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030". To this mission, AIMS will contribute the outputs of its research pillar on cancer research. The "Future of mobility" challenge highlights the importance the autonomous vehicles will have in making transport "safer, cleaner and better connected." To this challenge, AIMS offers the world-leading research of its robotic systems research pillar.

AIMS will further promote the positive realisation of autonomous technologies through direct influence on policy. The world-leading academics amongst AIMS's supervisory pool are well-connected to policy formation e.g. Prof Osborne serving as a Commissioner on the Independent Commission on the Future of Work. Further, Dr Dan Mawson, Head of the Economy Unit; Economy and Strategic Analysis Team at BEIS will serve as an advisor to AIMS, ensuring bidirectional influence between policy objectives and AIMS research and training.

Broad understanding of autonomous systems is crucial in making a society robust to the transformations they will engender. AIMS will foster such understanding through its provision of opportunities for AIMS students to directly engage with the public. Given the broad societal importance of getting autonomous systems right, AIMS will deliver core training on the ethical, governance, economic and societal implications of autonomous systems.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S024050/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2711334 Studentship EP/S024050/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Oishi Deb