What shadows reveal about object structure

  • David J. Kriegman
  • Peter N. Belhumeur
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1407)


In a scene observed from a fixed viewpoint, the set of shadow curves in an image changes as a point light source (nearby or at infinity) assumes different locations. We show that for any finite set of point light sources illuminating an object viewed under either orthographic or perspective projection, there is an equivalence class of object shapes having the same set of shadows. Members of this equivalence class differ by a four parameter family of projective transformations, and the shadows of a transformed object are identical when the same transformation is applied to the light source locations. Under orthographic projection, this family is the generalized basrelief (GBR) transformation, and we show that the GBR transformation is the only family of transformations of an object's shape for which the complete set of imaged shadows is identical. Finally, we show that given multiple images under differing and unknown light source directions, it is possible to reconstruct an object up to these transformations from the shadows alone.


Light Source Projective Transformation Perspective Projection Cast Shadow Point Light Source 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Kriegman
    • 1
  • Peter N. Belhumeur
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Computional Vision and ControlYale UniversityNew Haven

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