SynthPS: a benchmark for evaluation of Photometric Stereo algorithms for Cultural Heritage applications

Tinsae Dulecha, Ruggero Pintus, Enrico Gobbetti, Andrea Giachetti
The 17th Eurographics Workshop on Graphics and Cultural Heritage, page 13-22 - november 2020
Download the publication : gch2020-synthps.pdf [4.5Mo]  
Photometric Stereo (PS) is a technique for estimating surface normals from a collection of images captured from a fixed viewpoint and with variable lighting. Over the years, several methods have been proposed for the task, trying to cope with different materials, lights, and camera calibration issues. An accurate evaluation and selection of the best PS methods for different materials and acquisition setups is a fundamental step for the accurate quantitative reconstruction of objects' shapes. In particular, it would boost quantitative reconstruction in the Cultural Heritage domain, where a large amount of Multi-Light Image Collections are captured with light domes or handheld Reflectance Transformation Imaging protocols. However, the lack of benchmarks specifically designed for this goal makes it difficult to compare the available methods and choose the most suitable technique for practical applications. An ideal benchmark should enable the evaluation of the quality of the reconstructed normals on the kind of surfaces typically captured in real-world applications, possibly evaluating performance variability as a function of material properties, light distribution, and image quality. The evaluation should not depend on light and camera calibration issues. In this paper, we propose a benchmark of this kind, SynthPS, which includes synthetic, physically-based renderings of Cultural Heritage object models with different assigned materials. SynthPS allowed us to evaluate the performance of classical, robust and learning-based Photometric Stereo approaches on different materials with different light distributions, also analyzing their robustness against errors typically arising in practical acquisition settings, including robustness against gamma correction and light calibration errors.

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BibTex references

  author       = {Dulecha, T. and Pintus, R. and Gobbetti, E. and Giachetti, A.},
  title        = {SynthPS: a benchmark for evaluation of Photometric Stereo algorithms for Cultural Heritage applications},
  booktitle    = {The 17th Eurographics Workshop on Graphics and Cultural Heritage},
  pages        = {13-22},
  month        = {november},
  year         = {2020},
  keywords     = {Photometric Stereo, Cultural Heritage},
  doi          = {10.2312/gch.20201288},
  url          = {},

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» Ruggero Pintus
» Enrico Gobbetti
» Andrea Giachetti