International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 163–186

Separation of Reflection Components Using Color and Polarization

  • Shree K. Nayar
  • Xi-Sheng Fang
  • Terrance Boult

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007937815113

Cite this article as:
Nayar, S.K., Fang, XS. & Boult, T. International Journal of Computer Vision (1997) 21: 163. doi:10.1023/A:1007937815113


Specular reflections and interreflections produce strong highlights in brightness images. These highlights can cause vision algorithms for segmentation, shape from shading, binocular stereo, and motion estimation to produce erroneous results. A technique is developed for separating the specular and diffuse components of reflection from images. The approach is to use color and polarization information, simultaneously, to obtain constraints on the reflection components at each image point. Polarization yields local and independent estimates of the color of specular reflection. The result is a linear subspace in color space in which the local diffuse component must lie. This subspace constraint is applied to neighboring image points to determine the diffuse component. In contrast to previous separation algorithms, the proposed method can handle highlights on surfaces with substantial texture, smoothly varying diffuse reflectance, and varying material properties. The separation algorithm is applied to several complex scenes with textured objects and strong interreflections. The separation results are then used to solve three problems pertinent to visual perception; determining illumination color, estimating illumination direction, and shape recovery.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shree K. Nayar
  • Xi-Sheng Fang
  • Terrance Boult

There are no affiliations available

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