A General Motion Model and Spatio-Temporal Filters for Computing Optical Flow

Research paper by Hongche Liu, Tsai-Hong Hong, Martin Herman, Rama Chellappa

Indexed on: 01 Mar '97Published on: 01 Mar '97Published in: International journal of computer vision


Traditional optical flow algorithms assume local image translational motion and apply simple image filtering techniques. Recent studies have taken two separate approaches toward improving the accuracy of computed flow: the application of spatio-temporal filtering schemes and the use of advanced motion models such as the affine model. Each has achieved some improvement over traditional algorithms in specialized situations but the computation of accurate optical flow for general motion has been elusive. In this paper, we exploit the interdependency between these two approaches and propose a unified approach. The general motion model we adopt characterizes arbitrary 3-D steady motion. Under perspective projection, we derive an image motion equation that describes the spatio-temporal relation of gray-scale intensity in an image sequence, thus making the utilization of 3-D filtering possible. However, to accommodate this motion model, we need to extend the filter design to derive additional motion constraint equations. Using Hermite polynomials, we design differentiation filters, whose orthogonality and Gaussian derivative properties insure numerical stability; a recursive relation facilitates application of the general nonlinear motion model while separability promotes efficiency. The resulting algorithm produces accurate optical flow and other useful motion parameters. It is evaluated quantitatively using the scheme established by Barron et al. (1994) and qualitatively with real images.