IEEE Trans Pattern Anal Mach Intell. 2015 Oct;37(10):2099-118. doi: 10.1109/TPAMI.2015.2392759.


We study a problem that we call Shape-from-Template, which is the problem of reconstructing the shape of a deformable surface from a single image and a 3D template. Current methods in the literature address the case of isometric deformations, and relax the isometry constraint to the convex inextensibility constraint, solved using the so-called maximum depth heuristic. We call these methods zeroth-order since they use image point locations (the zeroth-order differential structure) to solve the shape inference problem from a perspective image. We propose a novel class of methods that we call first-order. The key idea is to use both image point locations and their first-order differential structure. The latter can be easily extracted from a warp between the template and the input image. We give a unified problem formulation as a system of PDEs for isometric and conformal surfaces that we solve analytically. This has important consequences. First, it gives the first analytical algorithms to solve this type of reconstruction problems. Second, it gives the first algorithms to solve for the exact constraints. Third, it allows us to study the well-posedness of this type of reconstruction: we establish that isometric surfaces can be reconstructed unambiguously and that conformal surfaces can be reconstructed up to a few discrete ambiguities and a global scale. In the latter case, the candidate solution surfaces are obtained analytically. Experimental results on simulated and real data show that our isometric methods generally perform as well as or outperform state of the art approaches in terms of reconstruction accuracy, while our conformal methods largely outperform all isometric methods for extensible deformations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't