Photometric Stereo in a Scattering Medium

Zak Murez, Tali Treibitz, Ravi Ramamoorthi, David J. Kriegman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photometric stereo is widely used for 3D reconstruction. However, its use in scattering media such as water, biological tissue and fog has been limited until now, because of forward scattered light from both the source and object, as well as light scattered back from the medium (backscatter). Here we make three contributions to address the key modes of light propagation, under the common single scattering assumption for dilute media. First, we show through extensive simulations that single-scattered light from a source can be approximated by a point light source with a single direction. This alleviates the need to handle light source blur explicitly. Next, we model the blur due to scattering of light from the object. We measure the object point-spread function and introduce a simple deconvolution method. Finally, we show how imaging fluorescence emission where available, eliminates the backscatter component and increases the signal-To-noise ratio. Experimental results in a water tank, with different concentrations of scattering media added, show that deconvolution produces higher-quality 3D reconstructions than previous techniques, and that when combined with fluorescence, can produce results similar to that in clear water even for highly turbid media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7577857
Pages (from-to)1880-1891
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1979-2012 IEEE.


  • Photometric stereo
  • fluorescence
  • scattering medium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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