Photometric-stereo techniques are based on the fact that image intensity depends upon the orientation of the surface with regard to the source of the illumination and its spectral reflectance. They are of special interest when dealing with rough surfaces because they usually present shadowed regions where sudden illumination changes might be found. In the present work we introduce an extension of the four-source photometric-stereo algorithm to color images that is able to recover the surface spectral reflectance of objects captured with a red–green–blue (RGB) camera. This method allows image rendering, even for rough-textured surfaces, under different directions of the impinging illumination. In addition, the introduction of spectral recovery techniques applied to the albedo and spectral reflectance from rough surfaces offers the possibility of image rendering for scenes captured under sources of illumination differing in spectral distribution. Using albedo instead of RGB information helps to avoid any shadows or highlights that might falsify results. One of the advantages of this spectral-based photometric-stereo method is that it can recover not only the albedo values, but also the spectral reflectance spectrum of an object’s surface on a pixel-by-pixel basis, as can be done with more complex hyperspectral imaging devices involving a camera coupled to an extensive set of narrowband filters.
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