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A theory of specular surface geometry

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2 Author(s)
Oren, M. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Columbia Univ., New York, NY, USA ; Nayar, S.K.

A theoretical framework is introduced for the perception of specular surface geometry. When an observer moves in three-dimensional space, real scene features, such as surface markings, remain stationary with respect to the surfaces they belong to. In contrast, a virtual feature, which is the specular reflection of a real feature, travels on the surface. Based on the notion of caustics, a novel feature classification algorithm is developed that distinguishes real and virtual features from their image trajectories that result from observer motion. Next, using support functions of curves, a closed-form relation is derived between the image trajectory of a virtual feature and the geometry of the specular surface it travels on. It is shown that in the 2D case where camera motion and the surface profile are coplanar, the profile is uniquely recovered by tracking just two unknown virtual features. Finally, these results are generalized to the case of arbitrary 3D surface profiles that are travelled by virtual features when camera motion is not confined to a plane. An algorithm is developed that uniquely recovers 3D surface profiles using a single virtual feature tracked from the occluding boundary of the object. All theoretical derivations and proposed algorithms are substantiated by experiments

Published in:

Computer Vision, 1995. Proceedings., Fifth International Conference on

Date of Conference:

20-23 Jun 1995