Underwater optical 3-D reconstruction of photometric stereo considering light refraction and attenuation

Hao Fan, Lin Qi, Changhao Chen, Yuan Rao, Linghui Kong, Junyu Dong, Hui Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photometric stereo is a widely used optical 3-D reconstruction method, which has advantages for high-resolution and well-detailed 3-D reconstruction even in weak texture regions. However, in underwater photometric stereo, the light refraction and attenuation using the camera and point light sources usually result in significant errors in shape recovery. In this article, we present a novel solution to address these challenges for improving the performance of underwater photometric stereo by combining it with underwater laser triangulation. First, we employ underwater laser triangulation as references to correct the global surface-shape distortion caused by nonuniform close-range illumination. Second, we propose to use an underwater camera refractive model to eliminate nonlinear refraction distortion. Third, we build a device implementing the proposed method for 3-D seabed reconstruction in on-site sea trials. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed approach is able to produce accurate 3-D reconstruction results in the underwater environment.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Early online date20 Jul 2021
Publication statusEarly online - 20 Jul 2021


  • Attenuation
  • Cameras
  • Light sources
  • Measurement by laser beam
  • Optical signal processing
  • Optical variables control
  • photometric stereo
  • Sea surface
  • Three-dimensional displays
  • underwater 3-D reconstruction
  • underwater equipment


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