International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 129–149

3D Photography Using Shadows in Dual-Space Geometry

  • Jean-Yves Bouguet
  • Pietro Perona

DOI: 10.1023/A:1008124523456

Cite this article as:
Bouguet, JY. & Perona, P. International Journal of Computer Vision (1999) 35: 129. doi:10.1023/A:1008124523456


A simple and inexpensive approach for extracting the three-dimensional shape of objects is presented. It is based on ‘weak structured lighting’. It requires very little hardware besides the camera: a light source (a desk-lamp or the sun), a stick and a checkerboard. The object, illuminated by the light source, is placed on a stage composed of a ground plane and a back plane; the camera faces the object. The user moves the stick in front of the light source, casting a moving shadow on the scene. The 3D shape of the object is extracted from the spatial and temporal location of the observed shadow. Experimental results are presented on five different scenes (indoor with a desk lamp and outdoor with the sun) demonstrating that the error in reconstructing the surface is less than 0.5% of the size of the object. A mathematical formalism is proposed that simplifies the notation and keep the algebra compact. A real-time implementation of the system is also presented.

3D photography 3D scanning 3D modeling shape from shadows dual-space geometry 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Yves Bouguet
    • 1
  • Pietro Perona
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.California Institute of TechnologyUSA
  3. 3.Università di PadovaItaly

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