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2019


Towards Geometric Understanding of Motion
Towards Geometric Understanding of Motion

Ranjan, A.

University of Tübingen, December 2019 (phdthesis)

Abstract

The motion of the world is inherently dependent on the spatial structure of the world and its geometry. Therefore, classical optical flow methods try to model this geometry to solve for the motion. However, recent deep learning methods take a completely different approach. They try to predict optical flow by learning from labelled data. Although deep networks have shown state-of-the-art performance on classification problems in computer vision, they have not been as effective in solving optical flow. The key reason is that deep learning methods do not explicitly model the structure of the world in a neural network, and instead expect the network to learn about the structure from data. We hypothesize that it is difficult for a network to learn about motion without any constraint on the structure of the world. Therefore, we explore several approaches to explicitly model the geometry of the world and its spatial structure in deep neural networks.

The spatial structure in images can be captured by representing it at multiple scales. To represent multiple scales of images in deep neural nets, we introduce a Spatial Pyramid Network (SpyNet). Such a network can leverage global information for estimating large motions and local information for estimating small motions. We show that SpyNet significantly improves over previous optical flow networks while also being the smallest and fastest neural network for motion estimation. SPyNet achieves a 97% reduction in model parameters over previous methods and is more accurate.

The spatial structure of the world extends to people and their motion. Humans have a very well-defined structure, and this information is useful in estimating optical flow for humans. To leverage this information, we create a synthetic dataset for human optical flow using a statistical human body model and motion capture sequences. We use this dataset to train deep networks and see significant improvement in the ability of the networks to estimate human optical flow.

The structure and geometry of the world affects the motion. Therefore, learning about the structure of the scene together with the motion can benefit both problems. To facilitate this, we introduce Competitive Collaboration, where several neural networks are constrained by geometry and can jointly learn about structure and motion in the scene without any labels. To this end, we show that jointly learning single view depth prediction, camera motion, optical flow and motion segmentation using Competitive Collaboration achieves state-of-the-art results among unsupervised approaches.

Our findings provide support for our hypothesis that explicit constraints on structure and geometry of the world lead to better methods for motion estimation.

PhD Thesis [BibTex]

2019

PhD Thesis [BibTex]


AirCap -- Aerial Outdoor Motion Capture
AirCap – Aerial Outdoor Motion Capture

Ahmad, A., Price, E., Tallamraju, R., Saini, N., Lawless, G., Ludwig, R., Martinovic, I., Bülthoff, H. H., Black, M. J.

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019), Workshop on Aerial Swarms, November 2019 (misc)

Abstract
This paper presents an overview of the Grassroots project Aerial Outdoor Motion Capture (AirCap) running at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. AirCap's goal is to achieve markerless, unconstrained, human motion capture (mocap) in unknown and unstructured outdoor environments. To that end, we have developed an autonomous flying motion capture system using a team of aerial vehicles (MAVs) with only on-board, monocular RGB cameras. We have conducted several real robot experiments involving up to 3 aerial vehicles autonomously tracking and following a person in several challenging scenarios using our approach of active cooperative perception developed in AirCap. Using the images captured by these robots during the experiments, we have demonstrated a successful offline body pose and shape estimation with sufficiently high accuracy. Overall, we have demonstrated the first fully autonomous flying motion capture system involving multiple robots for outdoor scenarios.

Talk slides Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

Talk slides Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


Method for providing a three dimensional body model
Method for providing a three dimensional body model

Loper, M., Mahmood, N., Black, M.

September 2019, U.S.~Patent 10,417,818 (misc)

Abstract
A method for providing a three-dimensional body model which may be applied for an animation, based on a moving body, wherein the method comprises providing a parametric three-dimensional body model, which allows shape and pose variations; applying a standard set of body markers; optimizing the set of body markers by generating an additional set of body markers and applying the same for providing 3D coordinate marker signals for capturing shape and pose of the body and dynamics of soft tissue; and automatically providing an animation by processing the 3D coordinate marker signals in order to provide a personalized three-dimensional body model, based on estimated shape and an estimated pose of the body by means of predicted marker locations.

MoSh Project pdf [BibTex]


Perceiving Systems (2016-2018)
Perceiving Systems (2016-2018)
Scientific Advisory Board Report, 2019 (misc)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]

2016


Skinned multi-person linear model
Skinned multi-person linear model

Black, M.J., Loper, M., Mahmood, N., Pons-Moll, G., Romero, J.

December 2016, Application PCT/EP2016/064610 (misc)

Abstract
The invention comprises a learned model of human body shape and pose dependent shape variation that is more accurate than previous models and is compatible with existing graphics pipelines. Our Skinned Multi-Person Linear model (SMPL) is a skinned vertex based model that accurately represents a wide variety of body shapes in natural human poses. The parameters of the model are learned from data including the rest pose template, blend weights, pose-dependent blend shapes, identity- dependent blend shapes, and a regressor from vertices to joint locations. Unlike previous models, the pose-dependent blend shapes are a linear function of the elements of the pose rotation matrices. This simple formulation enables training the entire model from a relatively large number of aligned 3D meshes of different people in different poses. The invention quantitatively evaluates variants of SMPL using linear or dual- quaternion blend skinning and show that both are more accurate than a Blend SCAPE model trained on the same data. In a further embodiment, the invention realistically models dynamic soft-tissue deformations. Because it is based on blend skinning, SMPL is compatible with existing rendering engines and we make it available for research purposes.

Google Patents [BibTex]

2016

Google Patents [BibTex]


Non-parametric Models for Structured Data and Applications to Human Bodies and Natural Scenes
Non-parametric Models for Structured Data and Applications to Human Bodies and Natural Scenes

Lehrmann, A.

ETH Zurich, July 2016 (phdthesis)

Abstract
The purpose of this thesis is the study of non-parametric models for structured data and their fields of application in computer vision. We aim at the development of context-sensitive architectures which are both expressive and efficient. Our focus is on directed graphical models, in particular Bayesian networks, where we combine the flexibility of non-parametric local distributions with the efficiency of a global topology with bounded treewidth. A bound on the treewidth is obtained by either constraining the maximum indegree of the underlying graph structure or by introducing determinism. The non-parametric distributions in the nodes of the graph are given by decision trees or kernel density estimators. The information flow implied by specific network topologies, especially the resultant (conditional) independencies, allows for a natural integration and control of contextual information. We distinguish between three different types of context: static, dynamic, and semantic. In four different approaches we propose models which exhibit varying combinations of these contextual properties and allow modeling of structured data in space, time, and hierarchies derived thereof. The generative character of the presented models enables a direct synthesis of plausible hypotheses. Extensive experiments validate the developed models in two application scenarios which are of particular interest in computer vision: human bodies and natural scenes. In the practical sections of this work we discuss both areas from different angles and show applications of our models to human pose, motion, and segmentation as well as object categorization and localization. Here, we benefit from the availability of modern datasets of unprecedented size and diversity. Comparisons to traditional approaches and state-of-the-art research on the basis of well-established evaluation criteria allows the objective assessment of our contributions.

pdf [BibTex]


Perceiving Systems (2011-2015)
Perceiving Systems (2011-2015)
Scientific Advisory Board Report, 2016 (misc)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]

2002


Bayesian Inference of Visual Motion Boundaries
Bayesian Inference of Visual Motion Boundaries

Fleet, D. J., Black, M. J., Nestares, O.

In Exploring Artificial Intelligence in the New Millennium, pages: 139-174, (Editors: Lakemeyer, G. and Nebel, B.), Morgan Kaufmann Pub., July 2002 (incollection)

Abstract
This chapter addresses an open problem in visual motion analysis, the estimation of image motion in the vicinity of occlusion boundaries. With a Bayesian formulation, local image motion is explained in terms of multiple, competing, nonlinear models, including models for smooth (translational) motion and for motion boundaries. The generative model for motion boundaries explicitly encodes the orientation of the boundary, the velocities on either side, the motion of the occluding edge over time, and the appearance/disappearance of pixels at the boundary. We formulate the posterior probability distribution over the models and model parameters, conditioned on the image sequence. Approximate inference is achieved with a combination of tools: A Bayesian filter provides for online computation; factored sampling allows us to represent multimodal non-Gaussian distributions and to propagate beliefs with nonlinear dynamics from one time to the next; and mixture models are used to simplify the computation of joint prediction distributions in the Bayesian filter. To efficiently represent such a high-dimensional space, we also initialize samples using the responses of a low-level motion-discontinuity detector. The basic formulation and computational model provide a general probabilistic framework for motion estimation with multiple, nonlinear models.

pdf [BibTex]

2002

pdf [BibTex]

1999


Artscience Sciencart
Artscience Sciencart

Black, M. J., Levy, D., PamelaZ,

In Art and Innovation: The Xerox PARC Artist-in-Residence Program, pages: 244-300, (Editors: Harris, C.), MIT-Press, 1999 (incollection)

Abstract
One of the effects of the PARC Artist In Residence (PAIR) program has been to expose the strong connections between scientists and artists. Both do what they do because they need to do it. They are often called upon to justify their work in order to be allowed to continue to do it. They need to justify it to funders, to sponsoring institutions, corporations, the government, the public. They publish papers, teach workshops, and write grants touting the educational or health benefits of what they do. All of these things are to some extent valid, but the fact of the matter is: artists and scientists do their work because they are driven to do it. They need to explore and create.

This chapter attempts to give a flavor of one multi-way "PAIRing" between performance artist PamelaZ and two PARC researchers, Michael Black and David Levy. The three of us paired up because we found each other interesting. We chose each other. While most artists in the program are paired with a single researcher Pamela jokingly calls herself a bigamist for choosing two PAIR "husbands" with different backgrounds and interests.

There are no "rules" to the PAIR program; no one told us what to do with our time. Despite this we all had a sense that we needed to produce something tangible during Pamela's year-long residency. In fact, Pamela kept extending her residency because she did not feel as though we had actually made anything concrete. The interesting thing was that all along we were having great conversations, some of which Pamela recorded. What we did not see at the time was that it was these conversations between artists and scientists that are at the heart of the PAIR program and that these conversations were changing the way we thought about our own work and the relationships between science and art.

To give these conversations their due, and to allow the reader into our PAIR interactions, we include two of our many conversations in this chapter.

[BibTex]

1999

[BibTex]

1998


Looking at people in action - An overview
Looking at people in action - An overview

Yacoob, Y., Davis, L. S., Black, M., Gavrila, D., Horprasert, T., Morimoto, C.

In Computer Vision for Human–Machine Interaction, (Editors: R. Cipolla and A. Pentland), Cambridge University Press, 1998 (incollection)

publisher site google books [BibTex]

1998

publisher site google books [BibTex]