Shadow removal using bilateral filtering

Qingxiong Yang, Kar Han Tan, Narendra Ahuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we propose a simple but effective shadow removal method using a single input image. We first derive a 2-D intrinsic image from a single RGB camera image based solely on colors, particularly chromaticity. We next present a method to recover a 3-D intrinsic image based on bilateral filtering and the 2-D intrinsic image. The luminance contrast in regions with similar surface reflectance due to geometry and illumination variances is effectively reduced in the derived 3-D intrinsic image, while the contrast in regions with different surface reflectance is preserved. However, the intrinsic image contains incorrect luminance values. To obtain the correct luminance, we decompose the input RGB image and the intrinsic image. Each image is decomposed into a base layer and a detail layer. We obtain a shadow-free image by combining the base layer from the input RGB image and the detail layer from the intrinsic image such that the details of the intrinsic image are transferred to the input RGB image from which the correct luminance values can be obtained. Unlike previous methods, the presented technique is fully automatic and does not require shadow detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6241432
Pages (from-to)4361-4368
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2012


  • Bilateral filter
  • chromaticity
  • intrinsic image

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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