On Refractive Optical Flow

Sameer Agarwal, Satya P. Mallick, David Kriegman and Serge Belongie


This paper presents a novel generalization of the optical flow equation to the case of refraction, and it describes a method for recovering the refractive structure of an object from a video sequence acquired as the background behind the refracting object moves.  By structure here we mean a representation of how the object warps and attenuates (or amplifies) the light passing through it.  We distinguish between the cases when the background motion is known and unknown. We show that when the motion is unknown, the refractive structure can only be estimated up to a six-parameter family of solutions without additional sources of information.  Methods for solving for the refractive structure are described in both cases. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated on real data, and results of applying the estimated refractive structure to the task of environment matting and compositing are presented.

ECCV 2004 [pdf] [with_water.mov] [without_water.mov]