New approaches to automatic 3-D and 2-D 3-D face recognition



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Automatic face recognition has attracted the attention of many research institutes, commercial industries, and government agencies in the past few years mainly due to the emergence of numerous applications, such as surveillance, access control to secure facilities, and airport screening. Almost all of the research on the early days of face recognition was focused on using 2-D (intensity/portrait) images of the face. While several sophisticated 2-D solutions have been proposed, unbiased evaluation studies show that their collective performance remains unsatisfactory, and degrades significantly with variations in lighting condition, face position, makeup, or existence of non-neutral facial expressions. Recent developments in 3-D imaging technology has made cheaper, quicker and more reliable acquisition of 3-D facial models a reality. These 3-D facial models contain information about the anatomical structure of the face that remains constant under variable lighting conditions, facial makeup, and pose variations. Thus, researchers are considering to utilize 3-D structure of the face alone or in combination with 2-D information to alleviate inherent limitations of 2-D images and attain better performance.

Published 3-D face recognition algorithms have demonstrated promising results confirming the effectiveness of 3-D facial models in dealing with the above mentioned factors contributing to the failure of 2-D face recognition systems. However, the majority of these 3-D algorithms are extensions of conventional 2-D approaches, where intensity images are simply replaced by 3-D models rendered as range images. These algorithms are not specifically tailored to exploit abundant geometric and anthropometric clues available in 3-D facial models.

In this dissertation we introduce innovative 3-D and 2-D+3-D facial measurements (features) that effectively describe the geometric characteristics of the corresponding faces. Some of the features described in this dissertation, as well as many features proposed in the literature are defined around or between meaningful facial landmarks (fiducial points). In order to reach our goal of designing an accurate automatic face recognition system, we also propose a novel algorithm combining 3-D (range) and 2-D (portrait) Gabor clues to pinpoint a number of points with meaningful anthropometric definitions with significantly better accuracies than those achievable using a single modality alone.

This dissertation is organized as follows. In Chapter 1, various biometric modalities are introduced and the advantages of the facial biometrics over other modalities are discussed. The discussion in Chapter 1 is continued with introduction of the face recognition’s modes of operation followed by some current and potential future applications. The problem statement of this dissertation is also included in this chapter. In Chapter 2, an extensive review of the successful 2-D, 3-D, and 2-D+3-D face recognition algorithms are provided. Chapter 3 presents the details of our innovative 3-D and 2-D+3-D face features, as well as our accurate fiducial point detection algorithm. Conclusions and directions for future extensions are presented in Chapter 4.