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## Real Cameras

Perspective (i.e. pinhole) projection is an idealized mathematical model of the behaviour of real cameras. How good is this model? -- There are two aspects to this: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Light entering a camera has to pass through a complex lens system. However, lenses are designed to mimic point-like elements (pinholes), and in any case the camera and lens is usually negligibly small compared to the viewed region. Hence, in most practical situations the camera is effectively point-like'' and rather accurately satisfies the extrinsic perspective assumptions: (i) for each pixel, the set of 3D points projecting to the pixel (i.e. whose possibly-blurred images are centered on the pixel) is a straight line in 3D space; and (ii) all of the lines meet at a single 3D point (the optical center).

On the other hand, practical lens systems are nonlinear and can easily introduce significant distortions in the intrinsic perspective mapping from external optical rays to internal pixel coordinates. This sort of distortion can be corrected by a nonlinear deformation of the image-plane coordinates.

There are several ways to do this. One method, well known in the photogrammetry and vision communities, is to explicitly model the radial and decentering distortion (see [24]): if the center of the image is (u0, v0), the new coordinates (x', y') of the corrected point are given by

This linearizes the image geometry to an accuracy that can reach of the image size [1]. The first order radial distortion correction k1 usually accounts for about 90% of the total distortion.

A more general method that does not require knowledge of the principal point and makes no assumptions about the symmetry of the distortion is based on a fundamental result in projective geometry:

Theorem: In real projective geometry, a mapping is projective if and only if it maps lines onto either lines or points.

Hence, to correct for distortion, all we need to do is to observe straight lines in the world and deform the image to make their images straight. Experiments described in [2] show accuracies of up to of the image for standard off-the-shelf CCD cameras. Figure 1.4 illustrates the process: line intersections are accurately detected in the image, four of them are selected to define a projective basis for the plane, and the others are re-expressed in this frame and perturbed so that they are accurately aligned. The resulting distortion corrections are then interpolated across the whole image.

Careful experiments showed that an off-the-shelf ( ) CCD camera with a standard frame-grabber could be stably rectified to a fully projective camera model to an accuracy of 1/20 of a pixel.

Next: Basic Properties of Projective Up: The Perspective Camera Previous: Perspective Projection
Bill Triggs
1998-11-13