Shape from Specular Flow: Is One Flow Enough?


Vasilyev Y, Zickler T, Gortler S, Ben-Shahar O. Shape from Specular Flow: Is One Flow Enough?. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). 2011:2561-2568.


Specular flow is the motion field induced on the image plane by the movement of points reflected by a curved, mirror-like surface. This flow provides information about surface shape, and when the camera and surface move as a fixed pair, shape can be recovered by solving linear differential equations along integral curves of flow. Previous analysis has shown that two distinct motions (i.e., two flow fields) are generally sufficient to guarantee a unique solution without externally-provided initial conditions. In this work, we show that we can often succeed with only one flow. The key idea is to exploit the fact that smooth surfaces induce integrability constraints on the surface normal field. We show that this induces a new differential equation that facilitates the propagation of shape information between integral curves of flow, and that combining this equation with known methods often permits the recovery of unique shape from a single specular flow given only a single seed point.

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