We present a new method for improving the measurement of three-dimensional (3-D) shapes by using color information of the measured scene as an additional parameter. The widest used algorithms for 3-D surface measurement by use of structured fringe patterns are phase stepping and Fourier fringe analysis. There are a number of problems and limitations inherent in these algorithms that include: that the phase maps produced are wrapped modulo 2π, that in some cases the acquired fringe pattern does not fill the field of view, that there may be spatially isolated areas, and that there is often invalid and/or noisy data. The new method presented to our knowledge for the first time here uses multiple colored fringe patterns, which are projected at different angles onto the measured scene. These patterns are analyzed with a specially adapted multicolor version of the standard Fourier fringe analysis method. In this way a number of the standard difficulties outlined above are addressed.
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