International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 35–59

Occlusion Models for Natural Images: A Statistical Study of a Scale-Invariant Dead Leaves Model


  • Ann B. Lee
    • Department of PhysicsBrown University
  • David Mumford
    • Division of Applied MathematicsBrown University
  • Jinggang Huang
    • Division of Applied MathematicsBrown University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011109015675

Cite this article as:
Lee, A.B., Mumford, D. & Huang, J. International Journal of Computer Vision (2001) 41: 35. doi:10.1023/A:1011109015675


We develop a scale-invariant version of Matheron's “dead leaves model” for the statistics of natural images. The model takes occlusions into account and resembles the image formation process by randomly adding independent elementary shapes, such as disks, in layers. We compare the empirical statistics of two large databases of natural images with the statistics of the occlusion model, and find an excellent qualitative, and good quantitative agreement. At this point, this is the only image model which comes close to duplicating the simplest, elementary statistics of natural images—such as, the scale invariance property of marginal distributions of filter responses, the full co-occurrence statistics of two pixels, and the joint statistics of pairs of Haar wavelet responses.

natural imagesstochastic image modelnon-Gaussian statisticsscalingdead leaves modelocclusionsclutter

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001