User assisted separation of reflections from a single image using a sparsity prior

Anat Levin and Yair Weiss

When we take a picture through transparent glass the image we obtain is often a linear superposition of two images: the image of the scene beyond the glass plus the image of the scene reflected by the glass. Decomposing the single input image into two images is a massively ill-posed problem: in the absence of additional knowledge about the scene being viewed there are an infinite number of valid decompositions. In this paper we focus on an easier problem: user assisted separation in which the user interactively labels a small number of gradients as belonging to one of the layers.
Even given labels on part of the gradients, the problem is still ill-posed and additional prior knowledge is needed. Following recent results on the statistics of natural images we use a sparsity prior over derivative filters. We first approximate this sparse prior with a Laplacian prior and obtain a simple, convex optimization problem. We then use the solution with the Laplacian prior as an initialization for a simple, iterative optimization for the sparsity prior. Our results show that using a prior derived from the statistics of natural images gives a far superior performance compared to a Gaussian prior and it enables good separations from a small number of labeled gradients.