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Jonas Wulff
Ph.D. Student
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Michael Black
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Efficient Sparse-to-Dense Optical Flow Estimation using a Learned Basis and Layers

Wulff, J., Black, M. J.

In IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2015), pages: 120-130, June 2015 (inproceedings)

We address the elusive goal of estimating optical flow both accurately and efficiently by adopting a sparse-to-dense approach. Given a set of sparse matches, we regress to dense optical flow using a learned set of full-frame basis flow fields. We learn the principal components of natural flow fields using flow computed from four Hollywood movies. Optical flow fields are then compactly approximated as a weighted sum of the basis flow fields. Our new PCA-Flow algorithm robustly estimates these weights from sparse feature matches. The method runs in under 300ms/frame on the MPI-Sintel dataset using a single CPU and is more accurate and significantly faster than popular methods such as LDOF and Classic+NL. The results, however, are too smooth for some applications. Consequently, we develop a novel sparse layered flow method in which each layer is represented by PCA-flow. Unlike existing layered methods, estimation is fast because it uses only sparse matches. We combine information from different layers into a dense flow field using an image-aware MRF. The resulting PCA-Layers method runs in 3.6s/frame, is significantly more accurate than PCA-flow and achieves state-of-the-art performance in occluded regions on MPI-Sintel.

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