Structure from Shadow Motion

Austin Abrams, Ian Schillebeeckx, and Robert Pless.


In outdoor images, cast shadows define 3D constraints between the sun, the points casting a shadow, and the surfaces onto which shadows are cast. This cast shadow structure provides a powerful cue for 3D reconstruction, but requires that shadows be tracked over time, and this is difficult as shadows have minimal texture. Thus, we develop a shadow tracking system that enforces geometric consistency for each track and then combines thousands of tracking results to create a 3D model of scene geometry. We demonstrate reconstruction results on a variety of outdoor scenes, including some that show the 3D structure of occluders never directly observed by the camera.


A. Abrams, I. Schillebeeckx, and R. Pless. Structure from Shadow Motion. In Proc. International Conference on Computational Photography, May 2014. [BibTeX]

Download the .pdf. Authors' personal version. The conference version will appear on IEEE Explore soon.

From tracked shadow motion (left), we recover a full 3D model of the scene from a single view (right). Hover to animate.