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Fundamentals

Chapter 7

Shape Description

Thessaloniki 1998

Chapter 7:

Shape description

7.1 Introduction

Questions/Answers

1. Why is invariance to geometrical transformations useful for object recognition?

Generally, in object recognition the images (and the object that we try to recognize) have

been translated, rotated, scaled or mirrored. Therefore, it is important to have a

representation that is not altered by geometrical transformations.

• The external object representation describes the 2-D objects using the objects contour

and its features (e.g. boundary length, curvature, signature, Fourier descriptors). This

method is directly connected to edge and line detection. They are quite popular

because they produce compact shape representations.

• The external representation describes the region occupied by the object on the image

plane. This method is linked to the region segmentation techniques. The resulting

representation schemes are called internal representations. Some segmentation

techniques (e.g. region splitting) lead directly to object representation schemes

(quadtrees). Region features (e.g. area, moments, skeletons) have been used

extensively in object recognition applications.

Questions/Answers

1. Which are the advantages of the difference chain code?

The difference chain code represents direction differences. Therefore, it is rotation

invariant (at least for angles that are multiples of ð/2 for 4-connected chains) as opposed

to chain code that is translation invariant only.

2. Does the use of chain code compress the description information of an object

contour?

Chain codes provide a good compression of boundary description, because each chain

code element can be coded with 2 bits only (for a 4-connected chain code), instead of the

2 bytes required for the storage of the coordinates (x, y) of each boundary pixel.

Papert's turtle can be easily modified to produce a 4-connected chain code of a contour of

an object.

7.3 Polygonal approximations

Questions/Answers

1. Which are the advantages and disadvantages of the splitting and merge methods?

• Splitting algorithm can detect bend points (those pixels that the curve changes

orientation) in a curve and use them in its representation. Sometimes, this algorithm

may have heavy computational complexity.

• The primary disadvantage of the merge techniques is that polygon vertices do not

coincide with curve inflection points. This disadvantage is a serious problem when

the curves to be represented are close to linear piecewise models.

In case of a closed curve, the start and end points x1, xN are chosen to lie on two opposite

remote parts of the curve. These points split the curve into two parts. The splitting

algorithm can be applied to the two parts independently.

Questions/Answers

1. What happens to the Fourier descriptors if the object boundary is rotated?

A rotation of the curve coordinates by angle è results in a phase shift of the transform

coefficients by an equal amount.

A translation in curve coordinates affects only the term Z(0) of the representation.

3. What problems are caused by the orthogonal sampling and the 8-connected chain

code to the Fourier descriptors?

The above-mentioned properties are valid for uniformly sampled curves. This is not the

case if the 8-connected neighborhood is used for curve following, because the sampling

intervals may be 1 or 2 . Phase information is affected particularly by non-uniform

curve sampling. Thus, if 8-connected curve traversing is used on a rectangular grid, only

the transform magnitude possesses reliable information.

7.5 Quadtrees

Questions/Answers

1. What is the relation between image segmentation and quadtrees?

Apart from the binary region representation, the quadtrees have been used for region

segmentation (Chapter 6) in region splitting algorithms.

Image representation through quadtrees demands (generally) less memory for its

representation and storage.

7.6 Pyramids

Questions/Answers

1. Why do we lose details at the higher pyramid levels?

The mapping function from each level to the next is a low-pass operator. Additionally

subsampling occurs from each level to the next. Therefore, high frequencies (and image

details) are gradually suppressed.

We use pyramids when we want to start image analysis from rough object characteristics

and to move gradually to object details. Pyramidal techniques are quite popular for image

analysis and compression applications, because they offer abstraction from image details.

Binary image pyramids can be used in multiresolution edge detection and region

segmentation.

3. What are the advantages of the contour following in multiple resolution levels?

In the contour following we may have edges that are broken and regions that are disjoint

at the bottom of the pyramid but may join at intermediate pyramid levels. Therefore, edge

following can benefit from a multiresolution approach.

Questions/Answers

1. What is the meaning of the curvature magnitude?

Curvature magnitude is a curve feature that denotes its corners. In the corners the

curvature magnitude becomes quite large or infinite.

The major axis is the straight line joining the two object points lying furthest apart from

each other. The minor axis is perpendicular to the maximal axis.

The Euler number is an important topological descriptor. It is defined as E=C-H where C

is the number of connected components of object X and H is the number of its holes.

Questions/Answers

1. What is the orientation of a circle?

Object orientation è is the angle between the major axis of the object and axis x.

However, the major axis of a circle can not be uniquely defined because any diameter of

the circle can be considered as major axis. Thus, the circle doesn’t have orientation.

2. What is the centre of gravity of a square?

The centre of gravity of square is the intersection of its diagonals.

Questions/Answers

1. What demands do we have from a thinning algorithm?

Thinning algorithms satisfy the following two constraints:

• They maintain connectivity at each iteration. They do not remove border pixels that

may cause discontinuities.

• They do not shorten the end of thinned shape limbs. Therefore, they do not remove

border pixels.

Questions/Answers

1. What are the properties of erosion?

Erosion increases the black regions and decreases the white ones.

Erosion increases the white regions and decreases the black ones.

Opening cuts the narrow isthmuses, compresses the small islands and smoothes the

contours.

Closing blocks the narrow canals, the small holes and the thin bays of the object.

7.12 Skeletons

Questions/Answers

1. Can we use a skeleton for object recognition?

Skeletons have found extensive applications in biological shape description, pattern

recognition, industrial inspection, quantitative metallography and image coding.

Skeleton is very sensitive to boundary noise and inside the object.

7.13 Shape decomposition

Questions/Answers

1. Which are the disadvantages of shape decomposition?

One disadvantage of morphological shape decomposition is that it is susceptible to

boundary noise. Another disadvantage is that the representation produced is not close to

human shape perception if the object consists of unions, intersections and differences of

various geometrical primitives. Combining morphological techniques with constructive

solid geometry (CSG) can alleviate this disadvantage. The resulting representation

scheme is called morphological shape representation.

In order for the shape decomposition to remain unaffected by rotation, the structure

element should also be unaffected by rotation. Thus, the structure element should be a

circle.

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