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Algo of optimization for detecting the edges of the lips on images

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WU Wenchao1,2,3,5,6 , WANG Shilin3 , KURUOGLU Ercan Engin4,5 , MA Xiaoli5,6 ,

LI Shenghong3 , LI Jianhua3 and Lionel M. Ni1,2

(1.Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,

Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China)

(2.Fok Ying Tung Research Institute, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,

Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China)

(3.School of Information Security Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China)

(4.Institute of Science and Technology of Information (ISTI), Italian National

Council of Research (CNR), Via G Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy)

(5.Georgia Institute of Technology, Shanghai 200240, China)

(6.School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia 30332, USA)

Abstract Developing algorithms based on lip contour estimation is a distinctive trend in lip segmentation

which is the first step of visual speech recognition. In order

to establish an optimized estimation of lip contour that is

complex enough to describe the principal features of the lip

but at the same time simple enough to be implemented,

the selection of lip model, estimator as well as parameters for features of lips, including the horizontal length of

snake of feature points and horizontal distance between

these feature points will be optimized. Experimental result demonstrates that the optimized estimation method of

lip contour provides more accurate and more stable results

of lip segmentation.

Key words Lip contour estimation, Lip segmentation, Weighted least squares estimator, Snake.

I. Introduction

Recently, speech recognition with the aid of visual information, sometimes called lip-reading, has proved to be great

interest to many researchers[16] . In the category of biometrics, lip-reading is not only applied to help the deaf or people

with hearing disability communicate with other people, or enable an intelligence agent to obtain information under noisy

environment conditions[1] , but also widely used in the eld of

personal identity recognition.

Robust and accurate lip segmentation, as the rst step

of most lip-reading systems, is of key importance for the accuracy and eciency of the whole system. Many dierent

approaches of lip segmentation have been proposed in recent

years. Generally, there are two distinctive trends in lip segmentation: the rst one, based on classic image and region

segmentation techniques[713] ; and the second one, based on

lip contour estimation and shape template tting[1420] . For

classic region-based approaches, the goal is to detect every single pixel in lip image that belongs to lip region. This kind of

approaches usually assumes that lip and skin pixels have different color features. Sometimes, a fast detection of the lip

region is obtained by using this approach; however, the result

is not accurate for lip edge detection.

This paper focuses on the contour-based approach due to

the inadequacy of classic region-based approach. In this kind

of approaches, the goal is to nd a set F = {f1 , f2 , , fn } of

parameterized functions fn , also known as features or observations of estimation, which is a preferred way to represent lip

information normally invariant to translation, rotation, scaling and illumination. Then estimation of lip contour can be

made by using F . To obtain an accurate lip contour estimation is unquestionably a dicult job. As is known to all, the

optimization of estimation that performs well for a particular

application in this case, lip contour estimation depends upon

many factors. The primary concern is the selection of a good

model, a suitable estimator and proper features. It should be

complex enough to describe principal features of the lip, but

at the same time simple enough to allow an estimator that is

optimal to be easily implemented. Consequently, this paper

tries to gure out the best model, best estimator and best features for lip estimation respectively in order to optimize the

estimation of lip contour.

The paper hereunder is presented as follows: The choice

of lip model is presented in Section II and details of the optimization of lip contour estimator described in Section III.

Section IV outlines how optimal features for estimation are

chosen, including the length of snake of feature points and

distance between these feature points. The experimental result obtained by our estimator is shown in Section V. Finally,

Manuscript Received Aug. 2013; Accepted Sept. 2013. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China

(No.61271319, No.60702043, No.61071152).

342

Section VI draws the conclusion.

2014

on properties of dierent curves, comparative experiments are

conducted with parabola, cubic and quartic as Fig.4 shown.

to high deformation of lip contour. If the chosen model not

suitable, the estimation result will be poor.

Several parametric models were proposed to model the

lip contour[18,21,22] . A simple model made of two parabolas

(Fig.1) was studied rst.

this model is limited, since the lip contour is not always strictly

symmetric in the image, especially for upper contour. A better

model should be established to describe the lip contour more

accurately.

independent curves [1] (Fig.3) is used to describe the lip contour. Through experiments to be described below, you can

see that such a three-curve model is adequate enough to describe lip contour, and more complex models are not necessary.

In the model, each curve describes part of lip boundary. The

number of lip feature points is adaptive so as to locate accurate

lip boundary that depends on the width of the lip (distance

between two lip corners).

with parabola, cubic and quartic

For comparative experiment, several lip images are arbitrarily chosen from AR face database[23] . Half of them are

female lips, and others male lips. According to the result of

comparative experiment shown above, the model with quartic works obviously worse than that with parabola or cubic.

The reason might be that feature points far from the dip point

are not close to the lip contour and the quartic attempts to t

these bad points. Thus we can see that the curve of higher order is more deformable, which makes models with higher-order

curves fail to correct errors of individual feature points. Hence,

high-order curves are not suitable for lip estimation. For models with parabola and cubic, the result is quite similar. Therefore, the model consisting of three independent parabolas is

chosen so as to reduce computation complexity and improve

the eciency of estimation.

In brief, the proposed lip model can be described as follows:

The function for lower lip contour starting from the

left lip corner C1(xcornerL , ycornerL ) to the right lip corner

C2(xcornerR , ycornerR ):

y a1 x2 + b1 x + c1 = 0

(1)

left lip corner C1(xcornerL , ycornerL ) to the dip point P0 (xdip ,

ydip ):

(2)

y a2 x2 + b2 x + c2 = 0

groups: Qn to Qn and C1, C2 make up the Curve 3 to describe the lower lip, P0 to Pn and C1 make up the Curve 1

to describe the upper-left lip, P0 to Pn and C2 make up the

Curve 2 to describe the upper-right lip, respectively.

Next, in order to build a complete model, functions of

the three curves should be determined. In other words, the

the dip point P0 (xdip , ydip ) to the right lip corner C2(xcornerR ,

ycornerR ):

(3)

y a3 x2 + b3 x + c3 = 0

The geometric constraints of the lip model can be described

by a parameter set

g = {xcornerL , ycornerL , xcornerR , ycornerR , xdip , ydip ,

a1 , b1 , c1 , a2 , b2 , c2 , a3 , b3 , c3 }.

In Section II, the suitable model has been chosen for lip

contour estimation. Now a proper estimator should be found

to t the lip contour.

For a lot of estimation problems, people often attempt to

nd an optimal or almost optimal estimator by considering

the class of unbiased and determining the one exhibiting minimum variance, the so-called MVU (Minimum variance unbiased) estimator. But in many cases, including lip contour

estimation, no probabilistic assumptions can be made about

the data, which makes it dicult to nd such an MVU estimator. For this reason, we decide to depart from this philosophy

to investigate another class of estimators. This is the least

squares estimator. A salient feature of the method is that no

probabilistic assumptions are made about the data, only a

signal model is assumed. Therefore, least squares estimators

in general have no optimality properties associated with them

but make good sense for many problems of interest. So the

method of least squares must be a good choice for the case of

lip contour estimation.

To estimate the lip contour properly with the model established in the previous section, the parameters am , bm , cm

(m =1,2,3) of Eqs.(1)(3) should be estimated to make the

dierence between estimation and actual curve be minimum.

The dierence to be minimized can be described by

J(u) = (Au v)T (Au v)

where

A=

x2i

x2i+1

..

.

x2i+n

xi

xi+1

..

.

xi+n

1

1

..

.

1

343

x2i

yi

xi

1

x2

y

a

m

1

x

i+1

i+1

i+1

A=

..

..

..

, u = bm , v = ..

.

.

.

.

cm

x2i+n xi+n 1

yi+n

By simple derivation, we have

u = (AT W A)1 AT W v

(7)

and the weighted LSE are compared in Fig.5.

From Fig.5, we nd that weighted LS estimator outperforms non-weighted LS estimator. The introduction of weight

matrix ensures the accuracy of positions of some points which

are more important in the lip contour model, particularly ensures that the upper and lower lips always intersect at lip corners. Furthermore, the usage of weighted LS estimator, to

some extent, helps to avoid errors caused by the inaccuracy

of some individual feature points. Therefore, weighted LS estimator should no doubt be chosen as an estimator for the

estimation of lip contour.

(4)

yi

am

i+1

.

,u =

,

v

=

b

m

.

cm

yi+n

Au = v AT Au = AT v u = (AT A)1 AT v

(5)

be made.

Yet, in some cases, the result of the estimation is not good

enough (Fig.5). In order to get a more accurate and stable estimation of lip contour, improvement of the estimator should

be made. Based on the observation of the estimated results,

we notice that some points in the model of lip contour, including the central part of the upper and lower lip and two

lip corners, are more important than others. The accuracy of

these points directly aects the performance of the estimator.

It is useful to add more weights to these points during the

estimation. We, therefore, introduce the weight matrix W .

The weight associated with the feature point decreases as the

distance between the feature point and the dip point increases.

The weight associated with corner points is the same as the

weight associated with dip point. Afterwards, we also want

to minimize the weighted dierence between estimation and

actual curve

J(u, w) = (Au v)T W (Au v)

where

W = diag(W1 , W2 , WN )

(6)

LS estimator

Estimation

The original algorithm employed for the extraction of lip

feature points is proposed by the author in Ref.[4]. Lip corner

detection based on pixel information is the rst step of this

algorithm. We make use of detected lip corner as a starting

point, which helps to simplify the algorithm and improve its

robustness. Then the Improved jumping snake algorithm

is used to obtain other feature points. Dierent from other

snake algorithms[25,26] , specic color features from DHT and

CIE-LUV color spaces are utilized for Snake which separate

lip and skin better. Consideration of adaptive length of the

snake is also proposed in Ref.[4]. By doing so, features for lip

contour estimation can be obtained.

Nevertheless, the number and quality of features directly

aect the eciency, robustness and accuracy of the estimation.

344

too many feature points make the convergence of the algorithm

very slow, which gives rise to poor real-time performance.

In order to make the estimation more ecient, more stable and more accurate, in this section, we try to optimize some

parameters for feature extraction, including the horizontal distance between feature points and the horizontal length of the

snake of feature points so as to obtain optimized features for

lip contour estimation.

1. Horizontal distance between feature points

The hotizontal distance d between feature points directly

aects the number of features used for estimation. Either too

big or too small distance between feature points will cause

problems for estimation. So a proper distance should be found

to obtain appropriate number of features.

Several comparative experiments are conducted with different distances (d = 1, 2, 3, , 10 pixels) between feature

points. Hereunder, results of four comparative expetiments

(Fig.6) with distances d = 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 pixels are shown.

2014

d = 4 is chosen as the proper distance between feature points

for our estimation.

2. Horizontal length of the snake of feature points

The horizontal length of the snake of feature points, which

is dened as the horizontal distance between two ends of the

snake, is another parameter which should be optimized so as

to obtain better features for lip contour estimation. According

to Ref.[4], feature extraction algorithm works better for central part of the lip. The accuracy of the algorithm decreases

as the distance between feature point and dip point increases.

On one hand, too long snake is not only wasteful, but also affects the accuracy of estimation. On the other hand, too short

snake cannot ensure the accuracy of lip contour estimation.

In short, it is important for us to decide a suitable and

adaptive length of the snake of feature points.

Similarly, another group of comparative experiments are

conducted. To make the length of the snake adaptive, the

length is associated with the width of lip. In experiments, we

choose the length of the snake to be 1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1 of the

width of lip. The results are shown in Fig.7.

Fig. 6. Comparison of the results of models with dierent distances (d =2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10) between feature points

convergence speed and high complexity. However, according

to the results of the comparative experiments shown above,

too small distancein this case, d = 2, 3 does not lead to high

accuracy of the estimation. Instead, dense feature points make

the estimation more sensitive to noise of pictures, shadow and

wrinkles, which results in bad estimation. For d = 4, 5, 7, 10,

we can see that an error becomes worse with increase of the

distance d between feature points. Hence, we can conclude

that neither too small nor too big distance between feature

points will produce a satisfactory result of lip contour estimation. Balance between accuracy and complexity of the algo-

3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 1 width of lip) of Snake

that neither too long nor too short snake is good for estimation. For snakes with the length of 5/6 and 1 width of lip, not

only do they have low convergence speed of algorithm, but also

in some cases, their accuracy is strongly aected by poor performance of feature extraction algorithm on the points that are

far from dip points. In order to avoid the problem described

above, some feature points are omitted and only keep those in

the central part of lip. A problem happens again with those

short snakes. For snakes with the length of 1/2 or 1/3 width of

lip, although they have high convergence speed and low complexity, the accuracy of the estimation is limited becauseshort

snakes of feature points cannot describe the overall shape of

lip contour accurately. Comparatively, snakes with the length

of 3/4 and 4/5 width of lip work better. However, snakes with

the length of 3/4 width of lip not only have higher convergence speed but also work more accurately around lip corners

(Fig.8) than those with the length of 4/5 width of lip. Therefore, the estimation by snakes with the length of 3/4 width of

lip is stable and accurate. It establishes the balance between

complexity and accuracy of the algorithm.

345

of dense facial hair.

The statistic result of experiments is shown in Table 1.

The statistic results before[4] and after optimization are

shown in Table 1. According to the statistic result, approximately 80.6% of the results after optimization is perceived to

be good, while only 70.8% of them perceived to be good

before optimization. Thus, we can infer that the optimized

estimation method has performed much better in our experiments. In a word, the good rate of lip contour estimation is

improved noticeably after optimization.

acceptable results

Fig. 8. Comparison of results around lip corners of 3/4 and

4/5 width of lip of Snake

is chosen as proper length of the snake of feature points.

V. Experimental Results

According to the study outlined above, the complete optimized lip contour estimation method is formed. The chosen lip

model consists of three parabolas. Weighted least square estimator is chosen as our estimator. Two important parameters

that determine the number of features or observations of estimation are dened as follows. The length of snake of feature

points should be 3/4 width of lip and the distance between

feature points is 4 pixels.

The optimized estimation method was rstly tested on AR

face database [23] . Each lip image was acquired from an image

in the rst ve parts of AR face database (consisting of 500

lip images).

Features for estimation are obtained using the algorithm

proposed in Ref.[4]. It is noted that lip contours can be estimated accurately using our optimized estimation method in

most cases, with dierent shapes of lips and even with presence of facial hair and with shadow. The experimental results

for the optimized estimation method are shown as Fig.9.

In some cases, the optimized lip contour estimation

method does not improve some poor results before optimization (Fig.10). The main reason is that the optimized algorithm

and after optimization

Before optimization

After optimization

Total

Good Acceptable Poor Good Acceptable Poor

Part 1 76

21

3

82

15

3

100

Part 2 67

30

3

84

13

3

100

Part 3 74

20

6

79

16

5

100

Part 4 70

26

4

78

18

4

100

Part 5 67

26

7

80

14

6

100

Total 354

123

23

403

76

21

500

70.8%

24.6%

4.6% 80.6%

15.2%

4.2%

VI. Conclusion

Through optimization of lip model, estimator and parameter of features, the optimized lip contour estimation method

proposed in this paper has noticeably improved the result of estimation. The optimized lip model consisting of three parabolas is employed to describe dierent lip shape, which strengthens the robustness of algorithm. The weighted least square

estimator makes our algorithm perform with high accuracy.

In addition, the optimized parameters for features improve

346

Experimental results demonstrate that the optimized lip contour estimation method has markedly improved the result of

estimation.

KURUOGLU Ercan Engin gratefully acknowledges partial

support from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Image Communication and Information Processing Institute in the framework of 111 Foreign Experts Video Science and Technology

Project.

References

[1] S.L. Wang, W.H. Lau, S.H. Leung, Automatic lip contour extraction from color images, Pattern Recognition, Vol.37, No.12,

pp.23752387, 2004.

[2] N.P. Erber, Interaction of audition and vision in the recognition of oral speech stimuli, J. Speech Hear. Res. Vol.12, No.2,

pp.423425, 1969.

[3] M.T. Chan, HMM-based audio-visual speech recognition integrating geometric and appearance-based visual features, IEEE

Fourth Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing, Cannes,

France, pp.914, 2001.

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Automatic lip contour extraction using both pixel-based and

parametric models, Chinese Journal of Electronics, Vol.22,

No.1, pp.7682, 2013.

[5] M.N. Kaynak, Q. Zhi, A.D. Cheok, K. Sengupta, K.C. Chung,

Audiovisual modeling for bimodal speech recognition, Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man,

and Cybernetics, Tucson, AZ, USA, Vol.1, pp.181186, 2001.

[6] Y. Zhang, S. Levinson, T. Huang, Speaker independent audiovisual speech recognition, Proceedings of IEEE International

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pp.10731076, 2000.

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using fuzzy clustering incorporating an elliptic shape function,

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04 ), Vol.3, pp.529532, 2004.

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lip pixels for lip tracker initialization, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol.2124, pp.317324, 2001.

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(3DPVT06 ), pp.224231, 2006.

[14] I. Shdaifat, R. Grigat, D. Langmann, Active shape lip modeling, Proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on Im-

2014

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in mobile computing environment, Proceedings of the Sixth

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[16] K.S. Jang, S. Han, I. Lee, Y.W. Woo, Lip localization based

on active shape model and gaussian mixture model, Lecture

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[17] M. Jiang, Z.H. Gan, G.M. He, W.Y. Gao, Combining particle

lter and active shape models for lip tracking, Proceedings of

the Sixth World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation (WCICA 2006 ), Vol.2, pp.98979901, 2006.

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tracking and action units classication using two-step active

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(ICPR02 ), Quebec, pp.528531, 2002.

WU Wenchao

received the B. E.

degree in information security engineering

and M. E. degree in information and communication engineering from Shanghai Jiao

Tong University, China, in 2010 and 2013,

respectively. He obtained a master degree

from School of Electrical and Computer

Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013. He is now pursuing Ph.D. degree from Department of Computer Science

and Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research interests include pattern recognition, big data

visualization and analysis and articial intelligence. (Email: wenchao.wu@ust.hk)

degree at City University of Hong Kong in

2004. Since 2004, he has been with the

School of Information Security Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where

he is currently an associate professor. His

biography is listed in Marquis Whos Who

in Science and Engineering.

KURUOGLU Ercan Engin

obtained the Ph.D. degree in information engineering at Cambridge University in 1998.

He is an associate professor and senior researcher at ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy. He was

a visiting professor in Georgia Institute of

Technology in Shanghai in 2007 and 2011.

He is recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Germany. He is the editor in chief of Digital Signal Processing,

Elsevier. His research interests are in statistical signal processing

and information theory with applications in image processing, astronomy and bioinformatics.

MA Xiaoli obtained the Ph.D. degree at University of Minnesota in 2003.

She is now an associate professor in the

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Her research interests include signal processing and image processing.

347

Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His biography is listed

in Marquis Whos Who in Science and Engineering.

LI Jianhua is a professor and the director of the School of

Information Security Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,

Shanghai, China. Since 2000, he has been the chief scientist of the

Information Security Technology Expert Board of the State HighTech Development Plan and is involved in the General Expert Board

of State Electronic Government Demonstration Pilot Projects.

Lionel M. Ni

is a chair professor with the Department of

Computer Science and Engineering, The Hong Kong University of

Science and Technology (HKUST). He also serves as the special assistant to the President of HKUST, as dean of the HKUST Fok

Ying Tung Graduate School, and as a visiting chair professor of

the Shanghai Key Laboratory of Scalable Computing and Systems,

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China. He has chaired

over 30 professional conferences and has received six awards for authoring outstanding papers.

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