User Assisted Intrinsic Images

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009), Volume 28, Number 5 - 2009
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For many computational photography applications, the lighting and materials in the scene are critical pieces of information. We seek to obtain intrinsic images, which decompose a photo into the product of an illumination component that represents lighting effects and a reflectance component that is the color of the observed material. This is an under-constrained problem and automatic methods are challenged by complex natural images. We describe a new approach that enables users to guide an optimization with simple indications such as regions of constant reflectance or illumination. Based on a simple assumption on local reflectance distributions, we derive a new propagation energy that enables a closed form solution using linear least-squares. We achieve fast performance by introducing a novel downsampling that preserves local color distributions. We demonstrate intrinsic image decomposition on a variety of images and show applications.

Images and movies


See also

Online Video

Additional documents

Our supplemental material includes all our images and scribbles, along with comparisons with existing methods. Pseudo-code is also provided.


We thank Laurence Boissieux for creating the synthetic scene, and Sara Su for recording the voice-over. We are grateful to Marshall Tappen for sharing his code and to Li Shen and Ping Tan for running their algorithm on our images. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers and the MIT/ARTIS pre-reviewers for their constructive feedback and comments. This work was partially funded by an NSF CAREER award 0447561, by the MIT-Quanta T Party and by the INRIA Associate Research Team "Flexible Rendering". F. Durand acknowledges a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship.

BibTex references

  author       = "Bousseau, Adrien and Paris, Sylvain and Durand, Fr\'edo",
  title        = "User Assisted Intrinsic Images",
  journal      = "ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009)",
  number       = "5",
  volume       = "28",
  year         = "2009",
  url          = ""

Other publications in the database

» Adrien Bousseau
» Sylvain Paris
» Frédo Durand