Illumination Normalization-Based Face Detection under Varying Illumination

Min YAO  Hiroshi NAGAHASHI  Kota AOKI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E97-D    No.6    pp.1590-1598
Publication Date: 2014/06/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.E97.D.1590
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Image Recognition, Computer Vision
illumination normalization,  Otsu method,  segmentation-based,  Haar-like face detector,  LBP face detector,  

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A number of well-known learning-based face detectors can achieve extraordinary performance in controlled environments. But face detection under varying illumination is still challenging. Possible solutions to this illumination problem could be creating illumination invariant features or utilizing skin color information. However, the features and skin colors are not sufficiently reliable under difficult lighting conditions. Another possible solution is to do illumination normalization (e.g., Histogram Equalization (HE)) prior to executing face detectors. However, applications of normalization to face detection have not been widely studied in the literature. This paper applies and evaluates various existing normalization methods under the framework of combining the illumination normalization and two learning-based face detectors (Haar-like face detector and LBP face detector). These methods were initially proposed for different purposes (face recognition or image quality enhancement), but some of them significantly improve the original face detectors and lead to better performance than HE according to the results of the comparative experiments on two databases. Meanwhile, we propose a new normalization method called segmentation-based half histogram stretching and truncation (SH) for face detection under varying illumination. It first employs Otsu method to segment the histogram (intensities) of the input image into several spans and then does the redistribution on the segmented spans. In this way, the non-uniform illumination can be efficiently compensated and local facial structures can be appropriately enhanced. Our method obtains good performance according to the experiments.