Shadow Detection: A Survey and Comparative Evaluation of Recent Methods
This paper presents a survey and a comparative evaluation of recent techniques for moving cast shadow detection. We identify shadow removal as a critical step for improving object detection and tracking. The survey covers methods published during the last decade, and places them in a feature-based taxonomy comprised of four categories: chromacity, physical, geometry and textures. A selection of prominent methods across the categories is compared in terms of quantitative performance measures (shadow detection and discrimination rates, colour desaturation) as well as qualitative observations. Furthermore, we propose the use of tracking performance as an unbiased approach for determining the practical usefulness of shadow detection methods. The evaluation indicates that all shadow detection approaches make different contributions and all have individual strength and weaknesses. Out of the selected methods, the geometry-based technique has strict assumptions and is not generalisable to various environments, but it is a straightforward choice when the objects of interest are easy to model and their shadows have different orientation. The chromacity based method is the fastest to implement and run, but it is sensitive to noise and less effective in low saturated scenes. The physical method improves upon the accuracy of the chromacity method by adapting to local shadow models, but fails when the spectral properties of the objects are similar to that of the background. The small-region texture based method is especially robust for pixels whose neighbourhood is textured, but may take longer to implement and is the most computationally expensive. The large-region texture based method produces the most accurate results, but has a significant computational load due to its multiple processing steps.
Keywords: moving cast shadow detection; literature review; comparative evaluation; tracking improvement