INITIAL ASSESSMENT ON THE USE OF STATE-OF-THE-ART NERF NEURAL NETWORK 3D RECONSTRUCTION FOR HERITAGE DOCUMENTATION
Keywords: NeRF, neural network, AI, 3D reconstruction, cultural heritage, photogrammetry
Abstract. In recent decades, photogrammetry has re-emerged as a viable solution for heritage documentation. Developments in various computer vision methods have helped photogrammetry to compete against the laser scanning technology, eventually becoming complementary solutions for the purpose of heritage recording. In the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has progressively entered various domains including 3D reconstruction. The Neural Radiance Fields (NeRF) method renders a 3D scene from a series of overlapping images, similar to photogrammetry. However, instead of relying on geometrical relations between the image and world spaces, it uses neural networks to recreate the so-called radiance fields. The result is a significantly faster method of recreating 3D scenes. While not designed to generate 3D models, simple computer graphics methods can be used to convert these recreated radiance fields into the familiar point cloud. In this paper, we implemented the Nerfacto architecture to recreate two instances of heritage objects and then compared them to traditional photogrammetric multi-view stereo (MVS). While the initial hypothesis posits that NeRF is not yet capable to reach the level of accuracy and density achieved by MVS as can be observed in the results, NeRF nevertheless shows a great potential due to its fractionally faster processing speed.