Skip to Main Content
This paper presents a novel method for 3D surface reconstruction that uses polarization and shading information from two views. The method relies on the polarization data acquired using a standard digital camera and a linear polarizer. Fresnel theory is used to process the raw images and to obtain initial estimates of surface normals, assuming that the reflection type is diffuse. Based on this idea, the paper presents two novel contributions to the problem of surface reconstruction. The first is a technique to enhance the surface normal estimates by incorporating shading information into the method. This is done using robust statistics to estimate how the measured pixel brightnesses depend on the surface orientation. This gives an estimate of the object material reflectance function, which is used to refine the estimates of the surface normals. The second contribution is to use the refined estimates to establish correspondence between two views of an object. To do this, surface patches are extracted from each view, which are then aligned by minimising an energy functional based on the surface normal estimates and local topographic properties. The optimum alignment parameters for different patch pairs are then used to establish stereo correspondence. This process results in an unambiguous field of surface normals, which can be integrated to recover the surface depth. Our technique is most suited to smooth nonmetallic surfaces. It complements existing stereo algorithms since it does not require salient surface features to obtain correspondences. An extensive set of experiments, yielding reconstructed objects and reflectance functions, are presented and compared to ground truth.