We introduce a new process of shape estimation through the matching of photometric-stereo images, which are monocular images obtained under different illuminations. If the illumination directions are not far apart, and if the imaged surface is smooth, so that a linear approximation to the reflectance map is applicable, the disparities produced by the matching process can be related to the depth function of the imaged surface through a differential equation whose approximate solution is easily found. We thus obtain a closed-form expression for surface depth, depending only on the coefficients of the linear-reflectance-map function. If those coefficients are not available, a simple iterative scheme still allows the recovery of depth, up to an overall scale factor.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: October 20, 1997
Revised Manuscript: August 10, 1998
Manuscript Accepted: August 11, 1998
Published: December 1, 1998
José R. A. Torreão and João L. Fernandes, "Matching photometric-stereo images," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 15, 2966-2975 (1998)