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Dynamic occlusion analysis in optical flow fields.

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Department of Computer Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.


Optical flow can be used to locate dynamic occlusion boundaries in an image sequence. We derive an edge detection algorithm sensitive to changes in flow fields likely to be associated with occlusion. The algorithm is patterned after the Marr-Hildreth zero-crossing detectors currently used to locate boundaries in scalar fields. Zero-crossing detectors are extended to identify changes in direction and/or magnitude in a vector-valued flow field. As a result, the detector works for flow boundaries generated due to the relative motion of two overlapping surfaces, as well as the simpler case of motion parallax due to a sensor moving through an otherwise stationary environment. We then show how the approach can be extended to identify which side of a dynamic occlusion boundary corresponds to the occluding surface. The fundamental principal involved is that at an occlusion boundary, the image of the surface boundary moves with the image of the occluding surface. Such information is important in interpreting dynamic scenes. Results are demonstrated on optical flow fields automatically computed from real image sequences.


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