Imported: 17 Feb '17 | Published: 28 Feb '12

USPTO - Utility Patents

A method for reconstructing three-dimensional, plural views of images from two dimensional image data. The method includes: obtaining two-dimensional, stereo digital data from images of an object; processing the digital data to generate an initial three-dimensional candidate of the object, such process using projective geometric constraints imposed on edge points of the object; refining the initial candidate comprising examining spatial coherency of neighboring edge points along a surface of the candidate.

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional application No. 60/910,319 filed Apr. 5, 2007, the entire subject matter thereof being incorporated herein by reference.

This invention relate generally to methods for reconstructing three-dimensional images from two-dimensional image data and more particularly to methods for reconstructing three-dimensional images from two dimensional, stereo-based, image data.

As is known in the art, as we live in a three-dimensional (3D) world, we expect our computer vision systems to reason about our 3D environment using two-dimensional (2D) images. One such inference is the reconstruction or modeling of the environment from images captured from multiple known view points (multi-view stereo). The result of such a reconstruction is used for a variety of applications including autonomous navigation, collision avoidance, reverse engineering and entertainment.

The wide variety of application areas presents varying difficulties for the existing multi-view stereo methods. The difficulties include the complexity of the environment to be modeled (e.g., the object geometries and appearances, and the amount of clutter), the number of available images and their field of views (FOVs), the speed of reconstruction, and the level of automation (e.g., full vs. semi-automated modeling).

Scenes without texture but with clutter are traditionally difficult for dense multi-view stereo methods [see S. M. Seitz, B. Curless, J. Diebel, D. Scharstein, and R. Szeliski. A comparison and evaluation of multi-view stereo reconstruction algorithms. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *2006]. Object parts without texture are difficult to recover as no correspondences can be established. Surface boundaries or markings are recovered reliably only at places where appearance information is unambiguous (aperture problem) [see PhotoModeler. http://www.photomodeler.com]. On the other hand, clutter presents additional problems as appearance matching may be overwhelmed [see D. G. Lowe. Distinctive image features from scale-invariant keypoints. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *60(2):91-110, 2000].

Feature-based stereo algorithms, in particular, edge-based methods, are better suited for the textureless objects as well as cluttered scenes. Surface boundaries or markings are recovered at every location using prior information. Similarly, clutter is eliminated as the clutter edges do not provide consistent matching [see R. T. Collins. A space-sweep approach to true multi-image matching. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1996].

The success of the edge-based reconstruction heavily depends on the type and amount of the prior information used about the scene, especially the surface boundary and surface marking edges. The projective geometric constraints (i.e., multi-view image constraints such as epipolar or trifocal geometry) have been used in the past to capture the change of appearance of the edges between different views [see O. Faugeras and L. Robert. What can two images tell us about a third one? *International Journal of Computer Vision, *18:5-19, 1996 and C. Schmid and A. Zisserman. The geometry and matching of lines and curves over multiple views. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *40(3): 199-233, 2000].

Multi-view stereo methods can be broadly classified into: (i) Dense stereo algorithms that seek reconstruction of dense object models by exploiting photo-consistency, [see S. M. Seitz, B. Curless, J. Diebel, D. Scharstein, and R. Szeliski. A comparison and evaluation of multi-view stereo reconstruction algorithms. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *2006.] and references therein; and (ii) Feature-based stereo algorithms that recover models of sparse features. Feature-based methods can be further divided into methods that rely on point features such as SIFT [see D. G. Lowe. Distinctive image features from scale-invariant keypoints. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *60(2):91-110, 2000], and edge-based methods, e.g. [see R. T. Collins. A space-sweep approach to true multi-image matching. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1996].

Seitz et al. [see S. M. Seitz, B. Curless, J. Diebel, D. Scharstein, and R. Szeliski. A comparison and evaluation of multi-view stereo reconstruction algorithms. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *2006] provide a comparative study of several dense multi-view stereo algorithms.

In the following a brief review some recent work on edge (curve) based reconstruction algorithms is presented:

Collins [see R. T. Collins. A space-sweep approach to true multi-image matching. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1996] introduce the “space-sweep” (also known as “plane-sweep”) method to the stereo matching of edge points in multiple views. The observation is that when each edge point back-projects to space and casts a vote for every possible 3D point (quantized in depth) along the ray, the 3D points that receive enough votes from multiple images are likely to be true 3D scene points and are thus retained as reconstructed results. The algorithm is implemented by sweeping a plane through the volume of space along a line perpendicular to the plane.

Schmid and Zisserman [see C. Schmid and A. Zisserman. Automatic line matching across views. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1997] study the matching of line segments between images where both intensity information and the geometric relationship induced by epipolar geometry are used. For short range motion they determine the matching score for a pair of line segments based on the average point-wise correlation scores along the line segment. For long range motion such uncorrected correlation scores do not suffice, so they adjust the correlation scores based on a pencil of planes (homographies) and select the best one.

Berthilsson et al. [see R. Berthilsson, K. Astrom, and A. Heyden. Reconstruction of general curves, using factorization and bundle adjustment. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *41(3): 171-182, 2001] reconstruct general space curves using factorization and bundle adjustment, assuming image edge points are already matched. While Kaminski and Shashua [see J. Y. Kaminski and A. Shashua. Multiple view geometry of general algebraic curves. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *56(3):195-219, 2004] show how to reconstruct an algebraic curve from multiple views.

Taylor [see C. J. Taylor. Surface reconstruction from feature based stereo. In *Proc. IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, *2003] proposes a feature (edge) based stereo algorithm for surface reconstruction by inferring freespace. Kahl and August [see F. Kahl and J. August. Multiview reconstruction of space curves. In *Proc. IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, *2003] pose the problem as the coupling of a prior distribution of general space curves and an image model that characterizes the formation of the image curves.

Furukawa et al. [see Y. Furukawa, A. Sethi, J. Ponce, and D. Kriegman. Structure and motion from images of smooth textureless objects. In *Proc. European Conference on Computer Vision, *2004] address the estimation of a smooth textureless object by utilizing geometrically-consistent frontier points and the redundancy of multiple epipolar geometries to retain the consistent correspondences.

Bay et al. [see H. Bay, V. Ferrari, and L. V. Gool. Wide-baseline stereo matching with line segments. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *2005] study line segment matching in two uncalibrated views of poorly textured images by exploring the sidedness constraint in a triplet of feature matches or a pair of feature matches. The observation is that a feature triplet or pair including a mismatch is more likely to violate the sidedness constraint. Li and Zucker [see G. Li and S. W. Zucker. A differential geometrical model for contour-based stereo correspondence. In *Proc. IEEE Work*-*shop on Variational, Geometric, and Level Set Methods in Computer Vision *(*atlCCV'*03), 2003. and G. Li and S. W. Zucker. Contextual inference in contour-based stereo correspondence. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *69(1):59-75, 2006] explore contextual inference in two-view stereo using pairwise differential constraints between neighboring matches. Sinha and Pollefeys [see S. N. Sinha and M. Pollefeys. Multi-view reconstruction using photo-consistency and exact silhouette constraints: A maximum-flow formulation. In *Proc. IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, *2005] reconstruct a closed continuous surface of an object using both photo-consistency and silhouette consistency. Savadjiev et al. [see P. Savadjiev, J. S. Campbell, G. B. Pike, and K. Siddiqi. 3D curve inference for diffusion MRI regularization and fibre tractography. *MedicalImage Analysis, *10(5):799-813,2006] use 3D curve inference for regularizing diffusion MRI data.

Multi-view geometry [see O. Faugeras. *Three*-*Dimensional Computer Vision*. The MIT Press, 1993 and R. Hartley and A. Zisserman. *Multiple View Geometry in Computer Vision*. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000] confines the locations of a given scene point in multiple images. We refer to this as the projective geometric constraints which include the epipolar constraints for a pair of cameras, and the trifocal tensor for a triplet of cameras. These constraints form the basis for many multi-view stereo methods. The plane sweep algorithm [see R. T. Collins. A space-sweep approach to true multi-image matching. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1996], for example, uses the constraint on the image edge point locations in multiple views. Similar constraints on higher order image measurements such as image curvatures across multiple views are also explored [see O. Faugeras and L. Robert. What can two images tell us about a third one? *International Journal of Computer Vision, *18:5-19, 1996. and C. Schmid and A. Zisserman. The geometry and matching of lines and curves over multiple views. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *40(3): 199-233, 2000].

In accordance with the present invention, a method is provided for reconstructing three-dimensional images from two dimensional image data. The method includes: obtaining two-dimensional, plural views of stereo digital data from images of an object; processing the digital data to generate an initial three-dimensional candidate of the object, such process using projective geometric constraints imposed on edge points of the object; refining the initial candidate comprising examining spatial coherency of neighboring edge points along a surface of the candidate.

The images may be obtained from digital cameras, or scanned films or prints, for example.

Thus, besides the projective geometric constraints, the method uses underlying structural relationships between neighboring edge points in 3D. These 3D constraints can be formally characterized by differential geometry, herein sometimes referred to as differential geometric constraints or spatial coherency of neighboring edge points.

Examples of the differential geometric constraints include tangent and curvature continuity capturing first and second order smoothness of the space curve or edge.

In one embodiment, the method incorporates at least the first order differential geometric constraint, i.e., tangent continuity, to the other projective geometric constraints for multi-view stereo reconstruction It is noted that second, or higher order, differentials may be also be included.

In one embodiment, the method uses an algorithm to extend the plane-sweep algorithm by incorporating spatial coherence of the scene. The method uses the geometric consistency derived from the continuity of three-dimensional edge points as a differential geometric constraint in addition to projective geometric constraints. Initial experiments conducted on both synthetic and real data shows that the proposed method successfully recovers the 3D scene structure of space edges even in cluttered environments.

As the number of views increases, the accuracy of reconstruction increases as well. At the same time, matching becomes more complex. Feature-based methods use multiple views, where the coverage, i.e., the field of view (FOV), is potentially larger.

The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the method uses two sources of geometric constraints in multi-view stereo: (i) The (projective) geometric constraints imposed on the locations of image edge points in multiple images for a given scene point; and (ii) The (differential) geometric constraints imposed by the spatial coherence of neighboring edge points along the structures in 3D. It is noted that an object O is imaged in the focal or image planes P_{1}, IP_{2 }and IP_{3 }of three cameras having centers C_{1}, C_{2}, and C_{3}, respectively as shown. It is noted that two points at positions X_{j,dj }and X_{i,di }on the edge of the object O are imaged: as corresponding points i, j, respectively, in image plane IP_{1 }of a first one of the three camera having its center at C_{1}; as corresponding points i′, j′, respectively, in image plane IP_{2 }of a second one of the three camera having its center at C_{2}; and as corresponding points i″, j″, respectively, in image plane IP_{3 }of a third one of the three camera having its center at C_{3}.

It is noted that point i′ in image plane IP_{2}, for example, is uniquely identified as a point on the epipolar line in image plane IP_{2 }(i.e., the epipolar line is the line formed by the intersection of a plane P_{1 }having defined by two lines: one line being the line L_{1 }from the center C_{1 }and the point X_{i,di }and the other line L_{2 }from the center C_{2 }and the point X_{i,di}). It is also noted that the point i′ is uniquely identified on the epipolar line in the image plane IP_{2 }is the point on the epipolar line that intersects the imaged edge on the object, O′. The third camera is used to improve the accuracy since it should be noted that the example in FIG. 1 is for one edge on an object and that in the real word the object will have edges disposed in space.

The process described above is referred to as projective geometric constrains imposed on locations of image edge points in multiple images for a given scene point.

It is noted that an initial step in the method according to the invention, as shown by the flowchart in FIG. 2 is to obtain two-dimensional, plural view, stereo digital data from images of an object, Step **100** and the process the digital data to generate an initial three-dimensional candidate of the object using projective geometric constraints imposed on edge points of the object as described in connection with FIG. 1. The images may be obtained in Step **100** from digital cameras, or scanned films or prints, for example.

More particularly, the process extracts image edges and tangents (spatial orientation) from the obtained two-dimensional, plural view, stereo digital data, Step **150**.

Next, the process processes the digital data to generate an initial three-dimensional candidate of the object, such process using projective geometric constraints imposed on edge points of the object, Step **200**.

Next, the process defines geometric consistency between two neighboring initial candidates using differential geometric constraints on the extracted edge points and extracted tangents, including at least first order tangent continuity and, if desired, second or higher order curvature continuity. Step **250**.

Next, the process refines the initial candidates comprising examining spatial coherency of neighboring edge points along an edge on the object using an inference algorithm and select the best candidates, Step **300**. Thus, the method supplements or refines the information obtained in Step **200** (an initial candidate) by examining spatial coherency of neighboring edge points along a surface of the candidate.

Thus, besides the projective geometric constraints, the method uses underlying structural relationships between neighboring edge points in 3D. These 3D constraints can be formally characterized by differential geometry, herein sometimes referred to as differential geometric constraints or spatial coherency of neighboring edge points. Examples of the differential geometric constraints include tangent and curvature continuity capturing first and second order smoothness of the space curve.

More particularly, referring again to FIG. 1, Step **300** is based on the observation that there exists underlying structural relationship between neighboring scene points in multi-view stereo yielding additional geometric constraints besides the projective geometric constraints. In order to combine these two, the method builds a graph G=(V, E) on the edge map of the reference image (defined as IP_{1 }in FIG. 1). Every edge pixel in the reference image then becomes a node in G. Edges E in this graph are determined by the spatial neighborhood in the reference image as will be described in more detail below.

Let i and j be two nearby edge pixels in G. We define the geometric consistency between pixel i with depth d_{i }and pixel j with depth d_{j }as:

where XεR^{3 }denotes the position vector field and TεR^{3 }denotes the tangent vector field, and σ_{D }and σ_{T }control the range of the neighborhood support for position and tangent, respectively. Thus X_{i,d}_{i }is the position of node i with depth d_{i}, and T_{i,d}_{i }is the space tangent of node i with depth d_{i}, and similarly for X_{j,d}_{i }and T_{j,d}_{i}. Note that r_{ij }takes value in the range of (0,1).

If two neighboring image edge pixels (in the reference image) i and j have similar positions (X_{i,d}_{i }and X_{j,d}_{i}) and tangents (T_{i,d}_{i }and T_{j,d}_{i}) in 3D, they are geometrically consistent, and consequently have a larger geometric consistency value. This geometric consistency can be used as the compatibility in the well-known inference algorithms such as relaxation labeling [see R. A. Hummel and S. W. Zucker. On the foundations of relaxation labeling processes. *IEEE Transactions on PatternAnalysis and Machine Intelligence, *5(3):267-287, 1983 or belief propagation [see W. T. Freeman, E. C. Pasztor, and O. T. Carmichael. Learning low-level vision. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *40(1):25-47, 2000].

In order to determine such geometric consistency, 3D tangent T is needed. Suppose t_{1 }and t_{2 }are the image tangents in two views (measured in R^{3}), and u_{1 }and u_{2 }are the position vectors from camera centers in two views (also in R^{3}), respectively. FIG. 1 also shows these measurements. Then u_{1 }and t_{1 }define a plane which also contains T. Thus T is orthogonal to (u_{1}×t_{1}). For the same reason T is orthogonal to (u_{2}×t_{2}). Thus space tangent T can be computed from:

where x denotes vector cross product. The sign can be easily determined by checking the image projection of T and image tangent (e.g., t_{1}). In practice, when more than two views are available, the computed tangents from each pair of views are averaged. This results in a noticeable increase in accuracy of the computed space tangents.

Since the method here, for example, uses the algorithm of Canny [see J. Canny. A computational approach to edge detection. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *8(6):679-698, 1986.] for edge detection, the image tangents are readily available as the image gradients are explicitly computed. The orientation is quantized in a complete circle. This lets us avoid potential false matches caused by the two sides of the same object.

Once the method establishes such geometric consistency measures r_{ij }between pairs of neighboring points in 3D, contextual information can be explored using standard inference techniques such as, for example, relaxation labeling [see R. A. Hummel and S. W. Zucker. On the foundations of relaxation labeling processes. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *5(3):267-287, 1983.] or belief propagation [see W. T. Freeman, E. C. Pasztor, and O. T. Carmichael. Learning low-level vision. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *40(1):25-47, 2000]. These computational inference techniques find consistent structures within a network of hypotheses (i.e., depths) assigned to nodes in a graph by iteratively using local constraints. Here, for example, the method adopts a relaxation labeling approach [see R. A. Hummel and S. W. Zucker. On the foundations of relaxation labeling processes. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *5(3):267-287, 1983.] due to its simple implementation and larger neighborhood it can consider for considering spatial coherence in each iteration.

The contextual support s_{i}^{t}(d_{i}) is what node i with depth d_{i }receives from its neighbors at iteration t:

*s*_{i}^{t}(*d*_{i})=Σ_{jεN}_{i}Σ_{d}_{i}_{εΛ}*r*_{ij}(*d*_{i}*,d*_{j})*p*_{j}^{t}(*d*_{j}) (3)

where N_{i }denotes the set of all the neighboring nodes of i, and Λ denotes the set of all possible quantized depths.

The confidence at node i with depth d_{i }is then iteratively updated with:

Such process achieves a globally consistent solution based on the iterative use of local constraints. The local constraints are encoded in the geometric consistency r_{ij }as computed from equation (1).

More particularly:

Step **200** (FIG. **2**)—Generating Initial Matches: The process generates an initial candidate matches based on the input edge maps. This is achieved in a similar fashion as in the plane sweep algorithm [see R. T. Collins. A space-sweep approach to true multi-image matching. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1996.]. Every edge point i in the reference image is back-projected into 3D for a given projective depth d_{i}. The projective depth undergoes a fixed increment and is bounded by a user-specified depth range. Each increment gives us a 3D point hypothesis which is in turn back-projected into the other images to verify whether it has a corresponding edge point. For those hypothesized initial matches (or 3D points) that have enough image support (e.g. ½ of the total number of input images) we consider it as a valid initial match. In practice we implement this step by efficiently searching along the epipolar lines in the other images.

As a result of this initial match generation step, each edge pixel in the reference image may have multiple valid initial matches (i.e. hypothesized 3D points at several depths). Among these, the method needs to find the final matches. The classical plane sweep algorithm [see R. T. Collins. A space-sweep approach to true multi-image matching. In *Proc. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, *1996.] performs this step by a threshold on the image support each initial match receives. An alternative approach is to select the best one based on the image support at each match through a winner-take-all step. We have remarked previously that such classical approach only considers observation in a point-wise manner, i.e. no structural information is taken into consideration. In the next step, the process explores spatial coherence in the matching process, which provides crucial cues for a better reconstruction. The process maintains the initial matches as linked lists.

Step **250** (FIG. **2**)—Incorporating Spatial Coherence in Multi-View Edge-Based Stereo:

From the previous step, the method obtained the initial matches, now explores spatial coherence of each candidate match so that geometric consistency can be utilized to infer the true 3D structure. Contextual information in computer vision has proved to be very useful in many applications, [see S. Z. Li. *Markov Random Field Modeling in Image Analysis*. Springer-Verlag, 2001], such as stereo reconstruction [see Y. Boykov, O. Veksler, and R. Zabih. Fast approximate energy minimization via graph cuts. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *23(11): 1222-1239, 2001], edge detection [see P. Parent and S. W. Zucker. Trace inference, curvature consistency, and curve detection. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *11(8):823-839, 1989], texture and shading analysis, image super-resolution [see W. T. Freeman, E. C. Pasztor, and O. T. Carmichael. Learning low-level vision. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *40(1):25-47, 2000.], etc. Popular frameworks for such inference include Relaxation Labeling [see R. A. Hummel and S. W. Zucker. On the foundations of relaxation labeling processes. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *5(3):267-287, 1983.] and Belief Propagation [see W. T. Freeman, E. C. Pasztor, and O. T. Carmichael. Learning low-level vision. *International Journal of Computer Vision, *40(1):25-47, 2000.]. Here, the process uses relaxation labeling although other approaches can be used as well. In particular, a graph G=(V, E) is built on the edge map of the reference image. Every edge pixel in the reference image is then a node in the graph. Edges E in this graph are determined by the spatial neighborhood in the reference image. The benefit over belief propagation formulation is that a larger neighborhood is utilized for every iteration.

With initial matches at different depths the goal is to find the depth for each node such that the global structure is most consistent. This is achieved by iteratively updating the confidence p_{i}(d_{i}) using equation (4) for a particular depth d_{i }at each node i. s_{i}^{t}(d_{i}) denotes the contextual support node i with depth d_{i }receives from its neighbors in iteration t. See [see S. Z. Li. *Markov Random Field Modeling in Image Analysis*. Springer-Verlag, 2001, R. A. Hummel and S. W. Zucker. On the foundations of relaxation labeling processes. *IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, *5(3):267-287, 1983.] for more implementation details.

Step **300** (FIG. **2**)—Final Reconstruction: After the relaxation labeling process converges (usually the method uses a preset number of iterations, e.g. 10), and selects the depth for each node i using a winner-take-all approach based on the current confidence p_{i }yielding the estimate as the reconstructed depth for this node:

Step **4**—Bundle Adjustment: An (optional) bundle adjustment [see R. Hartley and A. Zisserman. *Multiple View Geometry in Computer Vision*. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000.] step is performed.

A number of embodiments of the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.

1. A method for reconstructing three-dimensional images from two dimensional image data, comprising:

obtaining two-dimensional, plural view, stereo digital data from images of an object;

extracting image edges and tangents from the obtained two-dimensional, plural view, stereo digital data;

processing the digital data to generate an initial three-dimensional candidate of the object, such process using projective geometric constraints imposed on edge points of the object;

defining geometric consistency between two neighboring initial candidates using differential geometric constraints on the extracted edge points and extracted tangents, including at least first order tangent continuity and, if desired, second or higher order curvature continuity;

refining the initial candidates comprising examining spatial coherency of neighboring edge points along an edge on the object using an inference algorithm and selecting a new candidate.

obtaining two-dimensional, plural view, stereo digital data from images of an object;

extracting image edges and tangents from the obtained two-dimensional, plural view, stereo digital data;

processing the digital data to generate an initial three-dimensional candidate of the object, such process using projective geometric constraints imposed on edge points of the object;

defining geometric consistency between two neighboring initial candidates using differential geometric constraints on the extracted edge points and extracted tangents, including at least first order tangent continuity and, if desired, second or higher order curvature continuity;

refining the initial candidates comprising examining spatial coherency of neighboring edge points along an edge on the object using an inference algorithm and selecting a new candidate.