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Published by S. A. AHSAN RAJON
ICCIT-2011: An Unsupervised Natural Image Segmentation
Algorithm Using Mean Histogram Features by Dr. Mahbubur Rahman
ICCIT-2011: An Unsupervised Natural Image Segmentation
Algorithm Using Mean Histogram Features by Dr. Mahbubur Rahman

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Published by: S. A. AHSAN RAJON on Jan 05, 2012
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11/11/2012

 
An Unsupervised Natural Image SegmentationAlgorithm Using Mean Histogram Features
Md. Mahbubur Rahman
Computer Science and Engineering Discipline, Khulna University, Khulna-9208, Bangladesh.mahbubcse@yahoo.com
 Abstract
—A new integrated feature distributions based naturalimage segmentation algorithm has been proposed. The proposedscheme uses histogram based new color texture extraction methodwhich inherently combines color texture features rather thenexplicitly extracting it. Use of non parametric Bayesean clusteringmakes the segmentation framework fully unsupervised where noa priori knowledge about the number color textures regions arerequired. The feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed methodhave been demonstrated by various experiments using imagesof natural scenes. The experimental results reveal that superiorsegmentation results can be obtained through the proposedunsupervised segmentation framework.
 Index Terms
—Image segmentation, Natural scene, Color tex-ture feature, Mean histogram, Non parametric Bayesian cluster-ing
I. I
NTRODUCTION
Segmentation of images is an important yet challengingearly vision task where pixels with similar features are groupedinto homogeneous regions. Especially segmentation of naturalimages is a challenging task as the images are of complexcomposition of both color and texture regions. A difficultproblem for segmentation of natural images arises from thefact that, those images contain more or less pure textures andthe texture properties are not well defined. There have beenmany methods proposed for color segmentation and texturesegmentation, but only a few number for colored texturesegmentation. Although significant progress has been madein texture segmentation and color segmentation separately, thearea of combined color and texture segmentation remains openand active [1].Recently, some methods have been proposed for coloredtextured image segmentation. In [2], the color and texturefeatures were extracted separately and combined for colortexture segmentation using Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Chen etal. [3] proposed a segmentation method using the distributionsof color and local edge patterns which is used to derive ahomogeneity measure for color texture segmentation. Jain andHealey [4] introduced a method for color texture classifica-tion based on unichrome features computed from the threespectral bands independently and opponent color features thatutilize the spatial correlation between spectral bands. It wasfound that the inclusion of color increases the classificationresults without significantly complicating the feature extractionalgorithms. Pietiekainen et al. [5] presented a color textureclassification based on separate processing of color and patterninformation. From the classification results it was concludedthat color and texture have complementary roles.This study presents a new framework for natural imagesegmentation which uses integrated color and the texturefeatures along with an unsupervised segmentation algorithm.Rather than extracting color and texture features separately, wepropose a new inherent color texture feature for segmentationof images of natural scenes which in our opinion is effectivefor such case. From color and the color texture features,mean histograms are calculated. A fully unsupervised multi-channel histogram clustering method is employed for initialsegmentation. Final segmentation is obtained from regionmerging. The proposed segmentation framework is depictedin Figure 1. This paper is organized as follows. Section 2gives proposed feature extraction method. Section 3 discussesthe image segmentation algorithm using the proposed features.In Section 4, experimental results and performance of theproposed method are discussed. Section 5 concludes the paper.II. P
ROPOSED
F
EATURE
E
XTRACTION
M
ETHOD
 A. Constructing Feature Vectors: Color 
Though RGB color format is the most common color formatfor digital images the RGB space has the major drawback in that it is not perceptually uniform. Other color spaces,such as CIE-LAB (Lab), CIE-LUV offer improved perceptualuniformity. HSV color space is also compatible with humancolor perception. For color features, we construct histogramsof square window centering around each pixel on an equidis-tant grid in each image plane using both Lab and HSV colorspaces. Finally mean histograms are calculated. We use
5
×
5
window size in extracting histograms for three image channels.
 B. Constructing Feature Vectors: Color Texture using neigh-bourhood statistics
In the literature, Gabor filters are mostly used to extracttexture features for the segmentation. Unfortunately, Gaborfilters have the decisive drawback that they induce a lot of re-dundancy and thus lots of feature channels. We propose a newcolor texture feature extraction method based on higher orderimage statistics which defines texture regularity in neighbour-hood structures. The image statistics can be recovered throughunsupervised learning as proposed in [6]. Here image isconsidered as random field
with set of lattice points
where
{
s
}
s
S
is the set of pixels in the image. In order to extract suchfeature we employed an unsupervised, information-theoretic,adaptive filter (UINTA) [6] that improves the predictability of pixel intensities from their neighbourhoods by decreasing their joint entropy
h
(
|
=
y
)
, of the conditional PDF for eachpixel-neighborhood pair,
(
=
x,
=
y
)
by manipulating thevalue of each center pixel
x
. For this in each iteration and foreach image region,
z
m
,
 
∂h
(
|
=
y
m
)
/∂x
m
(1)is computed. Then, image
m
+1
is constructed,using finiteforward differences on the gradient descent, with intensities
x
m
+1
=
x
m
λ∂h/∂x
m
(2)where
λ
is the time step.We stop pixel updating process after few iterations when
m
+1
m
2
< δ
, a small threshold. For extracting colortexture features filtering is performed for three Lab imagechannels. After that pixels in a
5
×
5
window centering eachpixel is extracted and smoothed using a Gaussian. Finally localhistograms are calculated.
Fig. 1. Proposed segmentation framework 
C. Constructing Feature Vectors: Mean Weighted Histogram
The final step in feature extraction process is the calculationof mean weighted histogram. As color and texture in a colortextured image plays complementary roles [7], this integrationwill help improve the final segmentation result. If there are
feature histograms with
channels each, the channel wiseweighted mean histogram,
¯
j
can be calculated as
¯
j
=
i
=1
w
i
h
ij
(3)where
w
i
is the weight assigned to each histogram. Themean histogram is composed of channel wise weighted meanhistograms,
=
{
¯
j
}
j
=1
..C 
. As all the proposed colortexture features are extracted using local window they haveinherent similarity, we can put equal weights reasonably toeach features, i.e.,
w
i
= 1
/N.
III. S
EGMENTATION
Our segmentation algorithm is composed of two stages. Inthe first step, we cluster the image using a non parametricBayesian clustering method. The clustering process generatesa over segmented image. The over segmented image is thenmerged using a region homogeneity based merging algorithmin the next step. We describe the steps in the followingsections.
 A. Clustering using Dirichlet Process Mixture Model
We select a nonparametric Bayesian approach based onDirichlet process mixture models (DPMM) [8] which canprovide a framework for Bayesian clustering with an unknownnumber of groups. A brief description of the Dirichlet ProcessMixture Model (DPMM) and Gibbs sampling for clustering isprovided here.Let
= (
y
1
,...,y
n
)
be
p
-dimensional observations arisingfrom a mixture of distributions
(
.
|
θ
i
)
. The model parameterspecific to individual
i,θ
i
, are assumed to be independentdraws from some distribution
G
, which in tern follows aDirichlet process (DP)
DP 
(
αG
0
)
where where
G
0
is thebase distribution and
α
is the concentration parameter. Then,Bayesian hierarchical model with a DP prior can be writtenas follows:
y
i
(
.
|
θ
i
)
,θ
i
G,
(4)
G
DP 
(
αG
0
)
.
From the definition above, a DP is considered as a dis-tribution function over all possible distributions. Moreover,the underlying random probability distribution
G
is discretewith probability one, so that the support of 
G
consists of acountably infinite set of atoms, drawn independently from
G
0
.The representation via the P´olya urn scheme, described byBlackwell and MacQueen [8], shows the cluster formation andsample allocation. In (4), when G is integrated out over itsprior distribution, the conditional distribution of 
θ
i
followingP´olya urn scheme may be represented as:
θ
i
|
θ
i
αα
+
n
1
G
0
+1
α
+
n
1
n
j
=1
,j
̸
=
i
δ
θ
j
(
θ
i
)
(5)where
θ
i
represents the parameter set
{
θ
1
,...,θ
i
1
,θ
i
+1
,...,θ
n
}
with
θ
i
removed and
δ
θ
represents a Diracmeasure concentrated at
θ
.
 
(a) (b) (c) (d)Fig. 2. Color textured feature images obtained from neighborhood statistics. (a) is the original image. (b),(c),(d) show the L,a,b feature images respectively.
As can be seen in equation (5) that the Dirichlet processexhibits a clustering property as a result of the discretenessproperty of the random measure
G
.Posterior expectations for the DP mixture model (4) can beestimated employing Gibbs sampler. The above DPMM modelcan be adapted for histogram clustering following [9].
 B. Region merging
The final step of our segmentation algorithm is regionmerging. In order to enforce that the resulting segmentationrespects spatial continuity and consists of only connectedsegments, we impose constraints that two regions
R
and
R
can be merged together only if they are spatially adjacent inthe 2D image and any of the regions is smaller than a prespecified size threshold. Final segmentation is obtained afterthe completion of the merging process.IV. E
XPERIMENTAL
A
NALYSIS
In order to illustrate the validity and performance of the proposed scheme, we compare the results of our ap-proach with the image segmentation results achieved us-ing the well known JSEG method described in [10] andalso with the ones described in [11] . The JSEG re-sults were obtained from applying the images to theprograms made available by the JSEG authors online(http://vision.ece.ucsb.edu/segmentation/jseg/software/) whichwe think are most relevant to compare with those of ouralgorithm. JSEG involves three parameters namely the colorquantization threshold, the scale and the merge thresholdwhich are to be set by the user. In this study we set the values255, 1.0, and 0.4, respectively as suggested by the authors.In [11], an image is over segmented using low levelfeatures. Next the segments are merged using texture fea-tures in such a way that the overall coding length of thefeature vectors is minimized. The implementation of thealgorithm described in [11] is publicly made available at(http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/ yang/software/ lossy segmentation). The segmentation results shown in col-umn 3 of Figure 4 are obtained through this algorithm usingmerging parameter
CT
γ
=0.2.For the proposed algorithm, in histogram clustering, we usedDirichlet distribution with base measure,
G
0
=
G
0
(
.
|
βπ
)
. Weset vector
π
= (1
/B,...,
1
/B
)
and
β
= 2
where
is the totalnumber of data points in a local window to make histogramsand
B
is total number of bins in the histogram. Samplingwere performed paralleley for 3 individual channels. We putequal weights in constructing final color texture features. Theminimum region size threshold was set to such values sothat the final segmented regions obtained become roughlycompatible with original image regions for better qualitativecomparison.We have applied our technique to Berkeley [12] and Vistex[13] natural image databases that include images characterizedby nonuniform textures, fuzzy borders, and low image contrast.We present the segmentation steps of the proposed algorithmfor natural scenes in Figure 3. Two natural sample imagescollected from Vistex [13] database are shown in Figure 3a andin Figure 3e. Initial segmentation maps are shown in Figure 3band Figure 3f respectively. Final segmentation maps are shownin Figure 3c and Figure 3g respectively. The final segmentationresults are shown in Figure 3d and Figure 3h respectively.

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