Recovering Shading from Color Images


Existing shape-from-shading algorithms assume constant reflectance across the shaded surface. Multi-colored surfaces are excluded because both shading and reflectance affect the measured image intensity. Given a standard RGB color image, we describe a method of eliminating the reflectance effects in order to calculate a shading field that depends only on the relative positions of the illuminant and surface. Of course, shading recovery is closely tied to lightness recovery and our method follows from the work of Land [10, 9], Horn [7] and Blake [1]. In the luminance image, R+G+B, shading and reflectance are confounded. Reflectance changes are located and removed from the luminance image by thresholding the gradient of its logarithm at locations of abrupt chromaticity change. Thresholding can lead to gradient fields which are not conservative (do not have zero curl everywhere and are not integrable) and therefore do not represent realizable shading fields. By applying a new curl-correction technique at the thresholded locations, the thresholding is improved and the gradient fields are forced to be conservative. The resulting Poisson equation is solved directly by the Fourier transform method. Experiments with real images are presented.

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