What Do the Sun and Sky Tell Us About the Camera?

Jean-Francois Lalonde, Srinivasa G. Narasimhan, and Alexei A. Efros
tech. report CMU-RI-TR-09-04, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, January, 2009


Abstract
As the main observed illuminant outdoors, the sky is a rich source of information about the scene. However, it is yet to be fully explored in computer vision because its appearance in an image depends on the sun position, weather conditions, photometric and geometric parameters of the camera, and the location of capture. In this paper, we analyze two sources of information available within the visible portion of the sky region: the sun position, and the sky appearance. By fitting a model of the predicted sun position to an image sequence, we show how to extract camera parameters such as the focal length, and the zenith and azimuth angles. Similarly, we show how we can extract the same parameters by fitting a physically-based sky model to the sky appearance. In short, the sun and the sky serve as geometric calibration targets, which can be used to annotate a large database of image sequences. We use our methods to calibrate 22 real, low-quality webcam sequences scattered throughout the continental US, and show deviations below 4% for focal length, and 3 degrees for the zenith and azimuth angles. Once the camera parameters are recovered, we use them to define a camera-invariant sky appearance model, which we exploit in two applications: 1) segmentation of the sky and cloud layers, and 2) data-driven sky matching across different image sequences based on a novel similarity measure defined on sky parameters. This measure, combined with a rich appearance database, allows us to model a wide range of sky conditions.

Notes
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Vision and Autonomous Systems Center
Associated Lab(s) / Group(s): Illumination and Imaging Lab
Number of pages: 39
Note: PDF available from http://graphics.cs.cmu.edu/projects/sky/lalonde_tr_09.pdf

Text Reference
Jean-Francois Lalonde, Srinivasa G. Narasimhan, and Alexei A. Efros, "What Do the Sun and Sky Tell Us About the Camera?," tech. report CMU-RI-TR-09-04, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, January, 2009

BibTeX Reference
@techreport{Lalonde_2009_6252,
   author = "Jean-Francois Lalonde and Srinivasa G Narasimhan and Alexei A. Efros",
   title = "What Do the Sun and Sky Tell Us About the Camera?",
   booktitle = "",
   institution = "Robotics Institute",
   month = "January",
   year = "2009",
   number= "CMU-RI-TR-09-04",
   address= "Pittsburgh, PA",
   Notes = "PDF available from http://graphics.cs.cmu.edu/projects/sky/lalonde_tr_09.pdf"
}