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We propose a method to obtain a complete and accurate 3D model from multiview images captured under a variety of unknown illuminations. Based on recent results showing that for Lambertian objects, general illumination can be approximated well using low-order spherical harmonics, we develop a robust alternating approach to recover surface normals. Surface normals are initialized using a multi-illumination multiview stereo algorithm, then refined using a robust alternating optimization method based on the ℓ1 metric. Erroneous normal estimates are detected using a shape prior. Finally, the computed normals are used to improve the preliminary 3D model. The reconstruction system achieves watertight and robust 3D reconstruction while neither requiring manual interactions nor imposing any constraints on the illumination. Experimental results on both real world and synthetic data show that the technique can acquire accurate 3D models for Lambertian surfaces, and even tolerates small violations of the Lambertian assumption.