Camera Spectral Sensitivity and White Balance Estimation from Sky Images

published in IJCV 2013

Rei Kawakami, Hongxun Zhao, Robby T. Tan, and Katsushi Ikeuchi 

Photometric camera calibration is often required in physics-based computer vision. There have been a number of studies to estimate camera response functions (gamma function), and vignetting effect from images. However less attention has been paid to camera spectral sensitivities and white balance settings. This is unfortunate, since those two properties significantly affect image colors. Motivated by this, a method to estimate camera spectral sensitivities and white balance setting jointly from images with sky regions is introduced. The basic idea is to use the sky regions to infer the sky spectra. Given sky images as the input and assuming the sun direction with respect to the camera viewing direction can be extracted, the proposed method estimates the turbidity of the sky by fitting the image intensities to a sky model. Subsequently, it calculates the sky spectra from the estimated turbidity. Having the sky RGB values and their corresponding spectra, the method estimates the camera spectral sensitivities together with the white balance setting. Precomputed basis functions of camera spectral sensitivities are used in the method for robust estimation. The whole method is novel and practical since, unlike existing methods, it uses sky images without additional hardware, assuming the geolocation of the captured sky is known. Experimental results using various real images show the effectiveness of the method.

Paper (1.6MB)
Code for estimating RAW -> JPG conversion (in matlab) (you need a pair of JPG and RAW)
Code in C++ (coming soon)
Sensitivity database

concept result