Recovering lighting in a scene from a single image is a fundamental problem in computer vision. While a mirror ball light probe can capture omnidirectional lighting, light probes are generally unavailable in everyday images. In this work, we study recovering lighting from accidental light probes (ALPs)---common, shiny objects like Coke cans, which often accidentally appear in daily scenes. We propose a physically-based approach to model ALPs and estimate lighting from their appearances in single images. The main idea is to model the appearance of ALPs by photogrammetrically principled shading and to invert this process via differentiable rendering to recover incidental illumination. We demonstrate that we can put an ALP into a scene to allow high-fidelity lighting estimation. Our model can also recover lighting for existing images that happen to contain an ALP.
I'd rather be Shiny. --- Tamatoa from Moana, 2016
We would like to thank William T. Freeman for invaluable discussions and for the photo credit, Varun Jampani for helping us with data collection, and Henrique Weber and Jean-François Lalonde for running their methods as comparisons for us. The work was done in part when Hong-Xing Yu was a student researcher at Google and has been supported by gift funding and GCP credits from Google and Qualcomm.
Please send any question to Koven Yu.