In this thesis, we address the problem of image-based 3D reconstruction of objects exhibiting complex reflectance behaviour using surface gradient information techniques. In this context, we are addressing two open questions. The first one focuses on the aspect, if it is possible to design a robust multi-view normal field integration algorithm, which can integrate noisy, imprecise and only partially captured real-world data. Secondly, the question is if it is possible to recover a precise geometry of the challenging highly-specular objects by multi-view normal estima- tion and integration using such an algorithm.
The main result of this work is the first multi-view normal field integration algorithm that reliably reconstructs a surface of object from normal fields captured in the real-world setup. The surface of the unknown object is reconstructed by fitting a surface to the vector field reconstructed from observed normal samples. The vector field and the surface consistency information are computed based on a feature space analysis of back-projections of the normals using robust, nonparametric probability density estimation methods. This normal field integration technique is not only suitable for reconstructing lambertian objects, but, in the scope of this work, it is also used for the reconstruction of highly-specular objects via multi-view shape-from-specularity techniques.
We performed an evaluation on synthetic normal fields, photometric stereo based normal estimates of a real lambertian object and, most importantly, demon- strated state-of-the art results in the domain of 3D reconstruction of highly-specular objects based on the measured data and integrated by the proposed algorithm. Our method presents a significant advancement in the area of gradient information based 3D reconstruction techniques with a potential to address 3D reconstruction of a large class of objects exhibiting complex reflectance behaviour. Furthermore, using this method, a wide range of proposed normal estimation techniques can now be used for the recovery of full 3D shapes.