University of Oulu

Face colour under varying illumination : analysis and applications

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Author: Martinkauppi, Birgitta1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering
2University of Oulu, Infotech Oulu
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 8.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2002
Publish Date: 2002-08-30
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Raahensali (Auditorium L 10), Linnanmaa, on August 30th, 2002, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Doctor Markku Hauta-Kasari
Professor Caj Södergård


The colours of objects perceived by a colour camera are dependent on the illumination conditions. For example, when the prevailing illumination condition does not correspond to the one used in the white balancing of the camera, the object colours can change their appearance due to the lack of colour constancy capabilities. Many methods for colour constancy have been suggested but so far their performance has been inadequate. Faces are common and important objects encountered in many applications. Therefore, this thesis is dedicated to studying face colours and their robust use under real world illumination conditions. The main thesis statement is “knowledge about an object’s colour, like skin colour changes under different illumination conditions, can be used to develop more robust techniques against illumination changes”.

Many face databases exist, and in some cases they contain colour images and even videos. However, from the point of view of this thesis these databases have several limitations: unavailability of spectral data related to image acquisition, undefined illumination conditions of the acquisition, and if illumination change is present it often means only change in illumination direction. To overcome these limitations, two databases, a Physics-Based Face Database and a Face Video Database were created. In addition to the images, the Physics-Based Face Database consists of spectral data part including skin reflectances, channel responsivities of the camera and spectral power distribution of the illumination. The images of faces are taken under four known light sources with different white balancing illumination conditions for over 100 persons. In addition to videos, the Face Video Database has spectral reflectances of skin for selected persons and images taken with the same measurement arrangement as in the Physics-Based Face Database. The images and videos are taken with several cameras.

The databases were used to gather information about skin chromaticities and to provide test material. The skin RGB from images were converted to different colour spaces and the result showed that the normalized colour coordinate was among the most usable colour spaces for skin chromaticity modelling. None of the colour spaces could eliminate the colour shifts in chromaticity. The obtained chromaticity constraint can be implemented as an adaptive skin colour modelling part of face tracking algorithms, like histogram backprojection or mean shift. The performances of these adaptive algorithms were superior compared to those using a fixed skin colour model or model adaptation based on spatial pixel selection. Of course, there are cases when the colour cue is not enough alone and use of other cues like motion or edge data would improve the result. It was also demonstrated that the skin colour model can be used to segment faces and the segmentation results depend on the background due to the method used. Also an application for colour correction using principal component analysis and a simplified dichromatic reflection model was shown to improve colour quality of seriously clipped images. The results of tracking, segmentation and colour correction experiments using the collected data validate the thesis statement.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 951-42-6788-5
ISBN Print: 951-42-6787-7
Issue: 171
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2002. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.