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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K007432/1
Title: Realistic Shape from Shading
Principal Investigator: Martin, Professor RR
Other Investigators:
Rosin, Professor P Sun, Dr X
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Delcam International plc Royal Mint (The)
Department: Computer Science
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2013 Ends: 30 June 2016 Value (£): 318,944
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Image & Vision Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Oct 2012 EPSRC ICT Responsive Mode - Oct 2012 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Shape-from-shading (SFS) is a classic problem in computer vision. It aims to estimate 3D surface shape from the variations in shading in a single photographic image. The fact that it recovers shape using only a single image makes SFS attractive to a wide range of applications, especially when other 3D imaging techniques such as stereo or depth scanners are difficult to apply. Example applications can be found in topography analysis of SAR (synthetic aperture radar) images, reconstruction of medical images, inspection of microelectronics, CAD systems, and the entertainment industry. However, despite over four decades research, SFS still remains a challenging problem which is underused in real world problems, due to a lack of robustness, and sometimes implausible results. A good solution is pressing and challenging. This project intends to develop a robust and practical SFS algorithm for accurate shape recovery from real-world images.

The reasons for SFS's current poor performance on real-world images have several underlying causes. The first is that the classic assumptions of orthographic projection, Lambertian reflection, and simple lighting models are inaccurate for real-world surfaces. The second reason is that SFS is an underconstrained problem: the human visual system recovers shape not only from shading, but also from outlines, shadows, and prior experience. In computer vision, little work has considered the combination of shape from shading with other visual cues and human interactions. The third and largely overlooked reason is that many real surfaces are not smooth, and have detailed features. Most existing SFS algorithms only apply to images of smooth surfaces, and tend to over-smooth any features.

Based on these observations, this project will integrate techniques from such areas as feature-aware image filtering, shape from line drawing, and user interaction, to achieve more accurate shape recovery from sophisticated real-world images. An interactive platform for SFS will be developed for realistic applications. The outcome of the research will be tested on various applications in CAD and computer vision: specifically, as part of the project, we will explore the applications to bas-relief generation, and face recognition.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk