Revised definition of optical flow: integration of radiometrie and geometric cues for dynamic scene analysis

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205 Scopus citations


Optical flow has been commonly defined as the apparent motion of image brightness patterns in an image sequence. In this paper, we propose a revised definition to overcome shortcomings in interpreting optical flow merely as a geometric transformation field. The new definition is a complete representation of geometric and radiometric variations in dynamic imagery. We argue that this is more consistent with the common interpretation of optical flow induced by various scene events. This leads to a general framework for the investigation of problems in dynamic scene analysis, based on the integration and unified treatment of both geometric and radiometric cues in time-varying imagery. We discuss selected models, including the generalized dynamic image model in [21], for the estimation of optical flow. We show how various 3D scene information are encoded in, and thus may be extracted from, the geometric and radiometric components of optical flow. We provide selected examples based on experiments with real images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-979
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1998


  • Dynamic visual cues
  • Integration of radiometric and geometric cues
  • Motion vision
  • Optical flow
  • Time-varying image analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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