Omnidirectional (or 360°) images and videos are emergent signals being used in many areas, such as robotics and virtual/augmented reality. In particular, for virtual reality applications, they allow an immersive experience in which the user can interactively navigate through a scene with three degrees of freedom, wearing a head-mounted display. Current approaches for capturing, processing, delivering, and displaying 360° content, however, present many open technical challenges and introduce several types of distortions in the visual signal. Some of the distortions are specific to the nature of 360° images and often differ from those encountered in classical visual communication frameworks. This paper provides a first comprehensive review of the most common visual distortions that alter 360° signals going through the different processing elements of the visual communication pipeline. While their impact on viewers' visual perception and the immersive experience at large is still unknown-thus, it is an open research topic-this review serves the purpose of proposing a taxonomy of the visual distortions that can be encountered in 360° signals. Their underlying causes in the end-to-end 360° content distribution pipeline are identified. This taxonomy is essential as a basis for comparing different processing techniques, such as visual enhancement, encoding, and streaming strategies, and allowing the effective design of new algorithms and applications. It is also a useful resource for the design of psycho-visual studies aiming to characterize human perception of 360° content in interactive and immersive applications.

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IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Distributed and Interactive Systems

Azevedo, R., Birkbeck, N., De Simone, F., Janatra, I., Adsumilli, B., & Frossard, P. (2020). Visual distortions in 360-degree videos. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, 30(8), 2524–2537. doi:10.1109/TCSVT.2019.2927344