Detecting and Segmenting Un-Occluded Items by Actively Casting Shadows

Tze Koh,
Amit Agrawal, Ramesh Raskar, Steve Morgan, Nicholas Miles and Barrie Hayes-Gill

ACCV 2007 (oral presentation)


We present a simple and practical approach for segmenting un-occluded items in a scene using cast shadows. By ’items’, we refer to objects (or part of objects) enclosed by depth edges. Our approach utilizes the fact that under varying illumination, un-occluded items will cast shadows on occluded items or background, but will not be shadowed themselves.

We employ an active illumination approach by taking multiple images under different illumination directions, with illumination source close to the camera. Our approach ignores the texture edges in the scene and uses only the shadow and silhouette information to determine the occlusions. We show that such a segmentation does not require the estimation of a depth map, which can be cumbersome, expensive and often fails due to the lack of texture and presence of specular objects in the scene. Our approach can handle complex scenes with self-shadows and specularities. Results on several real scenes along with the analysis of failure cases are presented.

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