Toward a theory of shape from specular flow

Yair Adato, Yuriy Vasilyev, Ohad Ben-Shahar, Todd Zickler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The image of a curved, specular (mirror-like) surface is a distorted reflection of the environment. The goal of our work is to develop a framework for recovering general shape from such distortions when the environment is neither calibrated nor known. To achieve this goal we consider far-field illumination, where the object-environment distance is relatively large, and we examine the dense specular flow that is induced on the image plane through relative object-environment motion. We show that under these very practical conditions the observed specular flow can be related to surface shape through a pair of coupled non-linear partial differential equations. Importantly, this relationship depends only on the environment's relative motion and not its content. We examine the qualitative properties of these equations, present analytic methods for recovery of the shape in several special cases, and empirically validate our results using captured data. We also discuss the relevance to both computer vision and human perception.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2007
Event2007 IEEE 11th International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 14 Oct 200721 Oct 2007


Conference2007 IEEE 11th International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV
CityRio de Janeiro

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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