optical systems design, image formation, micro-optics, photonics, image analysis, noise in imaging systems, image quality, resolution, physical optics, scalar diffraction theory, wave propagation


A main challenge in the field of special effects is to create special effects in real time in a way that the user can preview the effect before taking the actual picture or movie sequence. There are many techniques currently used to create computer-simulated special effects, however current techniques in computer graphics do not provide the option for the creation of real-time texture synthesis. Thus, while computer graphics is a powerful tool in the field of special effects, it is neither portable nor does it provide work in real-time capabilities. Real-time special effects may, however, be created optically. Such approach will provide not only real-time image processing at the speed of light but also a preview option allowing the user or the artist to preview the effect on various parts of the object in order to optimize the outcome. The work presented in this dissertation was inspired by the idea of optically created special effects, such as painterly effects, encoded in images captured by photographic or motion picture cameras. As part of the presented work, compact relay optics was assessed, developed, and a working prototype was built. It was concluded that even though compact relay optics can be achieved, further push for compactness and cost-effectiveness was impossible in the paradigm of bulk macro-optics systems. Thus, a paradigm for imaging with multi-aperture micro-optics was proposed and demonstrated for the first time, which constitutes one of the key contributions of this work. This new paradigm was further extended to the most general case of magnifying multi-aperture micro-optical systems. Such paradigm allows an extreme reduction in size of the imaging optics by a factor of about 10 and a reduction in weight by a factor of about 500. Furthermore, an experimental quantification of the feasibility of optically created special effects was completed, and consequently raytracing software was developed, which was later commercialized by SmARTLens(TM). While the art forms created via raytracing were powerful, they did not predict all effects acquired experimentally. Thus, finally, as key contribution of this work, the principles of scalar diffraction theory were applied to optical imaging of extended objects under quasi-monochromatic incoherent illumination in order to provide a path to more accurately model the proposed optical imaging process for special effects obtained in the hardware. The existing theoretical framework was generalized to non-paraxial in- and out-of-focus imaging and results were obtained to verify the generalized framework. In the generalized non-paraxial framework, even the most complex linear systems, without any assumptions for shift invariance, can be modeled and analyzed.


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Graduation Date





Rolland, Jannick


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics

Degree Program









Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)