Calculating the reflectance map

Appl Opt. 1979 Jun 1;18(11):1770-9. doi: 10.1364/AO.18.001770.


It appears that the development of machine vision may benefit from a detailed understanding of the imaging process. The reflectance map, showing scene radiance as a function of surface gradient, has proved to be helpful in this endeavor. The reflectance map depends both on the nature of the surface layers of the objects being imaged and the distribution of light sources. Recently, a unified approach to the specification of surface reflectance in terms of both incident and reflected beam geometry has been proposed. The reflecting properties of a surface are specified in terms of the bidirectional reflectance-distribution function (BRDF). Here we derive the reflectance map in terms of the BRDF and the distribution of source radiance. A number of special cases of practical importance are developed in detail. The significance of this approach to the understanding of image formation is briefly indicated.