Shadow detection and shadow removal are fundamental and challenging tasks, requiring an understanding of the global image semantics. This paper presents a novel deep neural network design for shadow detection and removal by analyzing the image context in a direction-aware manner. To achieve this, we first formulate the direction-aware attention mechanism in a spatial recurrent neural network (RNN) by introducing attention weights when aggregating spatial context features in the RNN. By learning these weights through training, we can recover direction-aware spatial context (DSC) for detecting and removing shadows. This design is developed into the DSC module and embedded in a convolutional neural network (CNN) to learn the DSC features in different levels. Moreover, we design a weighted cross entropy loss to make effective the training for shadow detection and further adopt the network for shadow removal by using a Euclidean loss function and formulating a color transfer function to address the color and luminosity inconsistency in the training pairs. We employ two shadow detection benchmark datasets and two shadow removal benchmark datasets, and perform various experiments to evaluate our method. Experimental results show that our method clearly outperforms state-of-the-art methods for both shadow detection and shadow removal.
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