Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 www.elsevier.

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Color image segmentation by pixel classification in an adapted hybrid color space. Application to soccer image analysis
Nicolas Vandenbroucke,a Ludovic Macaire,b,* and Jack-Grard Postaireb e
b a  Ecole dÕIngnieurs du Pas-de-Calais, Campus de la Malassise, BP39, 62967 Longuenesse, France e Laboratoire dÕAutomatique I 3 D, CNRS FRE 2497, B^timent P2, Universit des Sciences et Technologies a e de Lille, 59655 Villeneuve dÕAscq, France

Received 13 November 2001; accepted 6 February 2003

Abstract In this paper, we propose an original approach in order to improve the results of color image segmentation by pixel classification. We define a new kind of color space by selecting a set of color components which can belong to any of the different classical color spaces. Such spaces, which have neither psycho-visual nor physical color significance, are named hybrid color spaces. We propose to classify pixels represented in the hybrid color space which is specifically designed to yield the best discrimination between the pixel classes. This space, which is called the adapted hybrid color space, is built by means of a sequential supervised feature selection scheme. This procedure determines the adapted hybrid color space associated with a given family of images. Its dimension is not always equal to three, as for classical color spaces. The effectiveness of our color segmentation method is assessed in the framework of soccer image analysis. The team of each player is identified by the colors of its soccer suit. The aim of the segmentation procedure is to extract meaningful regions representing the players and to recognize their teams. Ó 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
Keywords: Color images; Color spaces; Segmentation; Soccer

Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: nv@i3d.univ-lille1.fr (N. Vandenbroucke), (L. Macaire), Jack-Gerard.Postaire@univ-lille1.fr (J.-G. Postaire).

*

Ludovic.Macaire@univ-lille1.fr

1077-3142/03/$ - see front matter Ó 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S1077-3142(03)00025-0

N. Vandenbroucke et al. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216

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1. Introduction 1.1. Color image segmentation One of the most important problems in color image analysis is that of segmentation. Under the assumption that the pixels constituting the meaningful regions of an image share the same feature characteristics, this problem can be considered in terms of pixel classification. In this paper, we consider color uniformity as a criterion for partitioning the image into disjoint regions corresponding to distinguishable objects in the original scene. The color image segmentation techniques described in the literature can be categorized into two main classes, whether the distribution of the pixel colors is analyzed either (1) in the image plane or (2) in the color space [3]. 1.1.1. Analysis in the image plane The methods based on the analysis of the pixel properties in the image plane are developed under two different assumptions. It can be assumed that adjacent regions representing distinguishable objects have detectable discontinuities in their local properties or that regions are more or less uniform in their local properties. These two assumptions result in two strategies: (a) edge detection and (b) region reconstruction. (a) Edge detection. Edge finding is the process of detecting the parts of an image where there are abrupt changes in local color properties. For detecting edge pixels, the color gradient vector magnitude and direction can be determined by means of the Di Zenzo algorithm, which is based on first-order differential operators [46]. Cumani [4] proposes an edge detection scheme using second-order derivative filters. These differential techniques are known to be very sensitive to the presence of noise in the images. (b) Region reconstruction. Region reconstruction is based either on a region growing process or on a split and merge process. A region growing process consists in sequentially merging neighboring pixels of similar colors starting from initial seeds [37]. Regions are expanded as far as possible without violating their color uniformity. This scheme suffers from the difficulty of adjusting the thresholds which are used for regional neighbor search. In order to avoid this problem, Trmeau introduces a coarse to fine region growing process [38]. The thresholds of e the coarse region growing process are adjusted so that the analyzed image is over-segmented. This intermediate result is represented by a region adjacency graph which is used to merge adjacent regions with uniform colors by a region growing process. In order to analyze textured regions, Panjwani proposes a split and merge scheme where the regions to be merged are modelized as color Markov fields, which take into account the spatial and color interactions between the pixels [22]. He merges adjacent regions which have similar colors and textures and splits the regions having evident dissimilarities. One of the main drawbacks of the neighborhood-based segmentation methods are their sequential nature: the resulting regions depend on the order in which pixels are merged.

Vandenbroucke et al. BÞ space. Analysis in the color space The methods based on the analysis of the pixel properties in the color space take advantage of the characterization of each pixel by its three trichromatic components. Shafarenko et al.192 N. Lim and Lee apply a ‘‘scale space filter’’ process to each of the one-dimensional color component histograms to determine modal intervals [14]. Indeed. Then they partition the three-dimensional color space into hexahedra which are defined by the end points of the modal intervals. To overcome this problem. rather than to a local one.2. The so-extracted bins constitute initial seeds of the modes. It is assumed that homogeneous regions in the image plane give rise to clusters in the color space. 1. The nonempty hexahedra correspond to pixel classes. the green (G) and the blue (B). Uchiyama proposes to construct the pixel classes by means of an iterative process which is based on a competitive learning scheme [39]. The original pixel clustering algorithm proposed by Scheunders is an hybrid approach combining a genetic algorithm with the C-means algorithm [29]. which are constructed using adaptive morphological transformations. Segmentation and color spaces The analysis of the pixel color distribution in a color space is not restricted to the ðR. which do not need a priori information on the image. Ohta partitions the image into regions by a recursive analysis of these histograms [21]. (a) Histogram analysis. G. as pointed out by Park. namely the red (R). Considering the above-mentioned limitations. (b) Cluster analysis. However. many authors propose to apply clustering techniques like the C-means and Isodata algorithms which are among the most widely used methods for cluster analysis [9. each cluster corresponding to a class of pixels which share similar color properties. However. These clusters are generally identified by means of (a) an analysis of the color histogram or (b) a cluster analysis procedure and are mapped back to the original image plane to produce the segmentation. These histogram-based segmentation methods. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 1. This process. Pioneer works are based on marginal analysis of the distribution of the pixel colors in the three-dimensional color space.1. are multi-thresholding techniques which present severe limitations due to their sensitivity to parameters adjustment. G.35]. [31] apply a watershed algorithm to a two-dimensional smoothed chromatic histogram to perform class construction. converges approximately toward the optimal solution. It seems to be superior to the C-means algorithm because it converges to a nearby global optimum in the least mean square sense. the results achieved by these methods depend on the choice of the initial positions of the cluster centers. which does not require an initialization step. well separated clusters in the three-dimensional color space may correspond to only one single mode in a one-dimensional color component histogram. there exists a large number of color spaces which can be used . the pixels are represented by points in the three-dimensional ðR. considering one-dimensional color component histograms.2. In this approach. Park analyzes the three-dimensional color histogram and search for the modes by thresholding the difference between two Gaussian smoothed three-dimensional histograms [23]. BÞ color space.

Vandenbroucke et al. • The independent axis spaces resulting from different statistical methods which provide as less correlated components as possible. These four families are represented by the gray rectangles of Fig. .N. assuming that it is possible to match any color by mixing appropriate amounts of three primary colors. The four main color space families. • The luminance–chrominance spaces where one component represents the luminance and the two others the chrominance. 1. 1. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 193 to represent the color of the pixels [32]. the hue and the saturation. namely: • The primary spaces which are based on the trichromatic theory. Fig. The dotted rectangles within these gray rectangles correspond to sub-families of color spaces [43]. We propose to group the most classical color spaces into four main families. They are supported by specific physical. physiological and psycho-visual properties [28] and can be classified into a few non-exhaustive categories according to their definitions [25]. • The perceptual spaces which try to quantify the subjective human color perception using the intensity.

BÞ space. G. G. BÞ space is the best among all the considered color spaces. From eight e kinds of color images. I3Þ spaces provide the best results. the ðI1. G. By means of a visual appreciation of the results. B components which define the ðR. 1 [45]. He demonstrates that this space is the most adapted to natural scenes image segmentation. BÞ space [2]. Brunner discusses the properties of six color spaces to determine which are the best for detecting specific surface defects on Douglas-fir veneer. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 In general. I2. We propose to classify pixels represented in the hybrid color space which is specifically designed to yield the best discrimination between the pixel classes [41]. He does not find any color space which provides satisfying results for the segmentation of all kinds of images. G. Such spaces. which is called the adapted hybrid color space. G.194 N. BÞ acquisition space. bÃ Þ and ðLà . He shows that these defects are well detected when the clustering analysis is performed in the ðR. who proposes a color image segmentation algorithm based on a morphological analysis of the color histogram. vÃ Þ are the most adapted [35]. BÞ space. Park. G. Takahashi visually compares color images which are segmented by the Isodata algorithm with eight different color spaces and concludes that the perceptually uniform spaces ðLà . This short and non-exhaustive bibliography shows that different authors provide contradictory conclusions about the pertinence of the available color spaces in the context of image segmentation. color images are acquired through the R. Littman applies two classification methods using different color spaces [16]. shows that segmentation results in five different color spaces are almost identical [23]. I2. Ohta employs the OhlanderÕs method [20] in order to determine a new set of independent color components which result from a Karhunen–Love transformation [21]. BÞ and ðI1. According to his experiments. uà . 1 indicates how each color space is obtained by following the arrows starting from the ðR. This space. are named hybrid color spaces in this paper. The performance of an image segmentation procedure is known to depend on the choice of the color space. We define a new kind of color space by selecting a set of color components which can belong to any of the different classical color spaces listed in Fig. Lim and Lee [14] propose to segment images by means of the fuzzy C-means method. which have neither psycho-visual nor physical color significance . All the other color spaces are defined by linear or nonlinear transformations of this ðR. he determines a new color space ðI1. he also concludes that the ðR. I3Þ which is compared with different well known color spaces. They visually compare the results with images whose color is represented with different color spaces and conclude that the ðR. Fig. I3Þ space provides the best segmentation results while poor results are obtained with the ðR. we propose an original approach in order to improve the results of image segmentation by pixel classification. BÞ acquisition space. is built by means of a sequential . Liu applies his multiresolution segmentation method using six different color spaces [17]. aà . Many authors have tried to determine the color spaces which are the more appropriate for their specific color image segmentation problems. I2. Vandenbroucke et al. Lee compares the correlation between the components of different color spaces [13]. Instead of searching the best classical color space for segmentation. G. G.

the color suits being specific to each soccer game [40–45]. When the segmentation scheme is the low level image processing stage used by a player tracking system. 2. we present the sequential color components selection procedure which determines the adapted hybrid color space. The performance of our approach is evaluated in the third section. determines the adapted hybrid color space associated with a given family of images. Furthermore. which is not always equal to three. One of the main problems is the determination of the adapted hybrid color space which yields the lowest segmentation error rate. since the sizes of the players are relatively small in the images. the quality of the segmentation is crucial. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 195 supervised feature selection scheme [5]. For a given family of images or for a sequence of images. With this measure. In the first part of this section. presented in the second section of this paper. Finally. This application is well-suited to illustrate the efficiency of the proposed segmentation scheme. we consider the learning samples which contain representative pixels of the images. The effectiveness of our color segmentation method is assessed in the framework of color soccer image analysis. Adapted hybrid color space construction In this section. The aim of the segmentation procedure is to extract meaningful regions representing the players and to identify their teams. Its dimension is not always equal to three. A suitable criterion is used to measure the discriminating power of the candidate hybrid color spaces. because extensive experiments can be carried out with a high number of soccer games. . In the third part of this section. It is assumed that the more the clusters corresponding to the pixel classes are well separated and compact in a candidate hybrid color space.1. we present the construction of the hybrid color space which is adapted to the discrimination of pixel classes. This procedure. the higher its discriminating power is. 2. is detailed in the last part of this section. the adapted hybrid color space is determined in a supervised context. The team of each player is characterized by the soccer suit colors which are not always homogeneous. the teams of the touching players are difficult to identify in the images. the determination of the dimension of the adapted hybrid color space. the adapted hybrid color space construction scheme takes into account only candidate hybrid color spaces constituted of color components which are as less correlated as possible. As correlated color components are not a priori efficient for discriminating classes. when two players get so close from each other that there is no space let between them. a correlation measure is introduced in the second part of this section.N. The components of an hybrid color space come from different color spaces and may be more or less correlated. as for classical color spaces. our approach to color image segmentation by pixel classification is to look for the best hybrid color space for discriminating the Nclass pixel classes constituting the image. Learning sample As stated before. Vandenbroucke et al.

7 6 . .j Á Á Á x1. .j i.1 Á Á Á xNx . . We can also write as 2 13 X 6 . . 6 .Nclass N i. . . . In a d-dimensional color space. . how these representative pixels can be extracted from the images by means of an interactive procedure which is designed in the context of the segmentation of sequences of soccer images. . .j ÁÁÁ X1. . . Vandenbroucke et al.j Á Á Á x1.j 1. . we define. X1. .j . d d d d d x1. . xk x . in order to constitute the most discriminating d-dimensional hybrid color space.1 .Nclass Á Á Á xNx . j ¼ 1.Nclass The rows of the matrix X correspond to the (Nx  Nclass ) available representative pixels while the columns correspond to the d color components of each representative pixel in the color space. . 7 6 . . Candidate hybrid color space The construction of the adapted hybrid color space is based on a step by step color components selection. .Nclass ÁÁÁ XNx . 7 6 7 ð2Þ X ¼ 6 X k 7. The most discriminating D-dimensional hybrid color space is considered as the adapted hybrid color space which will be used to classify the pixels.j ¼ ½x1 .1 N 1. . for each representative pixel xi. . . ð3Þ where Xi. .j i. . . . . . . . 5 . . .N N the k th color component of the (Nx  Nclass ) representative pixels. xd ŠT . . 5 4 .j the k th color component. . .1 Á Á Á x1 Á Á Á x1 class Á Á Á x1 x . . .j of class Cj . a set of Nx representative pixels xi. . 2. The procedure stops at step d ¼ D when the stopping criterion described in the fourth part of this section is verified..j .Nclass Š. . . .2.1 Á Á Á xi. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 In order to determine the adapted hybrid color space we require. this sequential procedure selects a new color component which is associated with the ðd À 1Þ previously selected color components. . Nclass .1 Á Á Á xi. . .j 1. At each step d. . . . where xk is the level of i.j represents the d-dimensional observation associated with each representative pixel xi. .. 7 . . ..1 Á Á Á xNx . .Nclass Š contains the levels of 1.2 i. denoted Sd .1 Á Á Á x1 x . We will show. a d-dimensional observation Xi. . .1 . 7 6 xk k k k k ð1Þ X ¼ 6 1. It is convenient to express this set of observations in the form of a matrix X defined as 3 2 1 x1. . . . . .. . i ¼ 1. Nx . xk . .N N 7 6 . . . in the third section of this paper. . Xd where X k ¼ ½xk . 7 6 . 7 4 . or: X ¼ ½ X1.. . xk . . . .Nclass Á Á Á xNx ..j i..2 ÁÁÁ Xi. . . . . xk . .196 N. xk x . xk class . . 6 . . for each pixel class Cj . .Nclass 7: 7 6 .1 ÁÁÁ XNx .

1. . When constructing a color space for pixel classification.j Nclass  Nx j¼1 i¼1 i. At each step d (d ! 2) of the sequential selection procedure. ðNcomp À d þ 1Þ. which is defined as covðX k .N. . . . .j and vffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi uNclass Nx uX X 1 k pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi  t ðxk À mk Þ2 : r ¼ i. . ð4Þ rk  rd where the covariance covðX k .36]. (2). . / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 197 Let Ncomp be the number of available color components. k ¼ 1. . k ¼ 1. is associated with each of these d components. . Kouassi considers that color components have to be decorrelated so that each color component can be analyzed separately [11]. X d Þ denote the correlation between a k th color component. defined in Eq. . the number of different color components defining all the classical color spaces described in Fig.. A vector X k . As we look for the most discriminating hybrid color space among a number of candidates. For this purpose. .e. d À 1. some are more or less correlated to the ðd À 1Þ previously selected color components. . X d Þ corðX k . Ohta and Tominaga have shown that looking for un-correlated components by means of the Karhunen–Love transformation yields satisfying results [21. d For measuring the correlation between the color components of HSa . d The d-dimensional hybrid color space HSa contains the ðd À 1Þ color components which constitute the most discriminating ðd À 1Þ-dimensional hybrid color space SdÀ1 .j Nclass  Nx j¼1 i¼1 ð7Þ . We denote X the vector which contains the values of this d th color component for the (Nx  Nclass ) representative pixels. we first withdraw those with correlated components. k ¼ 1. i. For the k th color component. X d Þ ¼  ðxk À mk Þ Â ðxd À md Þ. and the d th color component. X d Þ between a k th color component and the d th color component is given by Nclass X X Nx 1 covðX k .j where mk . md . The d th color component of HSa is one of the remaining ðNcomp À d þ 1Þ d color components. d À 1. . at each step d of the sequential selection procedure we measure the correlation between the components of each of the ðNcomp À d þ 1Þ d-dimensional d hybrid color spaces HSa . we consider d the ðd À 1Þ couples of vectors constituted of X and each of the vectors X k . e Furthermore. we associate each of the ðNcomp À d þ 1Þ remaining color components with the ðd À 1Þ previously selected color components in order to constitute ðNcomp À d þ 1Þ d-dimensional hybrid color d spaces denoted HSa . X d Þ ¼ . with a ¼ 1. Among these components. they are defined as Nclass X X Nx 1 mk ¼  xk ð6Þ Nclass  Nx j¼1 i¼1 i. and rd are the means and the standard deviations of the k th and the d th color components. d À 1. ð5Þ i. respectively. . . Let corðX k . Vandenbroucke et al. . rk .

/ Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 The correlation values range from 0 to 1. two-dimensional hybrid color spaces are constituted by associating the color component of S1 with each of 2 ðNcomp À 1Þ remaining color components. we select the one that maximizes Jdis ðSl2 Þ as the best in terms of discriminating power between the pixel classes. To be more specific. Vandenbroucke et al. l ¼ 1. . denoted Jdis ðSld Þ. A comparison of the performances of different feature selection algorithms has shown that the results obtained with different sequential search methods are generally similar for the first five selected features [24]. More sophisticated strategies exist. By means of this thresholding procedure. d At each step d of the construction procedure. . the problem is to find an hybrid color space in which the colors of the pixels which belong to each region of the image are similar. we consider the set of Ncand d-dimend d sional candidate hybrid color spaces Sl . X k Þ : k¼1 We consider that only the d-dimensional hybrid color spaces with a correlation measure lower than a given threshold can be taken into account as interesting candidates for the most discriminating hybrid color space construction procedure. Ncand . Ncand . such as the sequential adaptive floating search method which selects features by means of successive forward and backward search steps [33]. We evaluate their discriminating powers with a suitable criterion and select the best one. . d The correlation measure Jcor ðHSa Þ between the color components of the d-dimend sional hybrid color space HSa is evaluated as the maximum of the correlation measures between the d th color component and all the other ðd À 1Þ color components Á dÀ1 À d ð8Þ Jcor ðHSa Þ ¼ max corðX d . . we consider the one-dimensional candidate spaces defined by each of the Ncomp available color components. At the second step of the procedure (d ¼ 2). l ¼ 1. that satisfy the criterion based on the correlation measure. . . This selected space is the most discriminating . which is the most discriminating d-dimensional hybrid color space Sd . . Adapted hybrid color space construction As it would be unrealistic to evaluate the discriminating power of all the possible combinations of color components. we consider only a limited number Ncand of interesting d-dimend d sional candidate hybrid color spaces Sl . Among the Ncand two-dimensional hybrid 2 2 color spaces Sl . The selected one-dimensional space S1 is that which maximizes the discriminating power Jdis ðSl1 Þ. among all the d ðNcomp À d þ 1Þ available hybrid color spaces HSa . . . This criterion. . . 2. measures the scatter of the observations associated with the representative pixels in each of the d-dimensional candidate hybrid color spaces.3. At the beginning of the construction procedure (d ¼ 1). the more correlated are the two color components.198 N. Hence. with l ¼ 1. we use a sub-optimal sequential forward selection algorithm for finding the adapted hybrid color space [6]. we have used the simplest sequential forward selection process. for computational efficiency. The closer is the correlation to 1. Ncand . while the colors of pixels belonging to distinct regions are significantly different. which is achieved at each step d of the color d component selection. .

Ncand WðSld Þ ¼ Nclass X X Nx 1 T  ðXi.j À Mj Þ . denoted Jstop and detailed in the next section. . The procedure is iterated until a stopping d criterion. 2 illustrates the procedure which constructs the adapted hybrid color space. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 199 two-dimensional hybrid color space S2 . Sequential procedure of the adapted hybrid color space construction. . is verified. . We use the within-cluster scatter matrix WðSld Þ to evaluate the compactness of each class Cj in each d-dimensional d candidate hybrid color space Sld .N. l ¼ 1.j À Mj ÞðXi. Nx  Nclass j¼1 i¼1 ð9Þ Fig. Fig. The discriminating power of a candidate hybrid color space is evaluated by means of a measure of class separability and compactness. Vandenbroucke et al. . 2. . The number d ¼ D of the last step indicates the dimension D of the adapted hybrid color space SD .

At each step d of the construction procedure. given the ðd À 1Þ components of SdÀ1 . namely the ðd À 1Þ components of SdÀ1 and the d th component associated with Sd . 2. . In these conditions. ð12Þ where TðSld Þ ¼ WðSld Þ þ BðSld Þ is the total scatter matrix.200 N. the most discriminating d-dimensional hybrid color space Sd is that which maximizes the discriminating criterion & ' d Ncand À Á d d d d S ¼ Sl0 jJdis ðSl0 Þ ¼ max Jdis ðSl Þ . Rao defines the conditional total and within-cluster scatter matrices with respect to the d th component of Sd . i. . This criterion measures the scatter of the observations in the one-dimensional space constituted by the d th component of Sd .j ð10Þ To measure the class separability. . . and Mj ¼ ½m1 . is measured by the well-known trace criterion [8]. .j is defined in Eq. with mk ¼ j Nx 1 X k x : Nx i¼1 i. we use the between-cluster scatter matrix BðSld Þ BðSld Þ ¼ 1 Nclass  Nclass X j¼1 T ðMj À MÞðMj À MÞT . it does not indicate if the d-dimensional hybrid color space Sd which is determined at step d is more discriminating than SdÀ1 . with mk defined in Eq. denoted Jdis ðSld Þ. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 T where Xi. .. The within-cluster scatter WðSd Þ is a ðd  dÞ-dimensional matrix which can be written as . . For each candidate hybrid color space Sld . md Š is the d-dimensional mean vector of all the available observations. Jdis ðSld Þ can be written as  À  À ÁÀ1 ÁÀ1 Jdis ðSld Þ ¼ trace WðSld Þ þ BðSld Þ WðSld Þ ¼ trace TðSld Þ WðSld Þ . . . However. ð13Þ l¼1 where l0 indicates the number of the selected candidate hybrid color space. he divides the d components of Sd into two groups.4. (6). (3). . given the scatter of the observations in the most discriminating ðd À 1Þ-dimensional space SdÀ1 [26]. . . For this purpose. mk . (12) is used to compare the discriminating powers of different sets of color components. mk .e. ð11Þ where M ¼ ½m1 . . We propose to use an information criterion in order to stop the selection procedure when the d th color component of Sd which is selected at step d does not significantly improve the discrimination.j used to define the class Cj . md Š is the d-dimensional j j j mean vector of the Nx observations Xi. the ðd À 1Þ-dimensional hybrid color space selected at step ðd À 1Þ. the discriminating power. . Vandenbroucke et al. . . Stopping criterion The criterion given in Eq.

1 ðSd Þ provide a measure of the contribution of the d th color component in terms of discriminating power. By means of this decomposition. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 201 1 WðSd Þ ¼ Nclass  Nx 2 PN PN class 6 Â6 4 PNclass j¼1 ÁÁÁ . which has been proposed by Romeder [27]. The two ðd À 1Þ-dimensional vectors W1. conditional scatter measures.N. Let D denote the number of steps of the procedure which precedes the first decreasing phase of the stopping criterion. So. . hereafter. the conditional within-cluster scatter matrix.dÀ1 ðSd Þ WðSdÀ1 Þ WdÀ1.dÀ1 ðSd Þ and WdÀ1. Vandenbroucke et al. is defined as À ÁÀ1 1W ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ ¼ W1. . is evaluated with the relative difference of the conditional scatter measures 1W ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ and 1T ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ d Jstop ¼ 1T ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ À 1W ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ : 1W ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ ð18Þ With this criterion.dÀ1 ðSd Þ W1. 1 ðxi. the matrix WðSd Þ can be written as ! WðSdÀ1 Þ WdÀ1. denoted 1T ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ. .. 7: .j À mj Þ i¼1 ð14Þ The elements of the last row and the last column of this matrix are associated with the d th selected color component.j À m1 Þ j 2 PNclass PNx j¼1 1 i¼1 ðxi.1 ðSd Þ À W1. is defined as À ÁÀ1 1T ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ ¼ T1.j PNclass j¼1 3 À m1 Þ Â ðxd À md Þ j i. Hence.dÀ1 ðSd Þ TðSdÀ1 Þ TdÀ1. the conditional within-cluster and total scatter matrices are reduced to scalars called.1 ðSd Þ where WðSdÀ1 Þ is the ðd À 1Þ Â ðd À 1Þ-dimensional within-cluster scatter matrix of the observations in the space SdÀ1 .j j j¼1 x 1 i¼1 ðxi. the conditional total scatter matrix. PNx d d 2 ðxi. The stopping criterion.1 ðSd Þ À T1. As long as the criterion d Jstop increases. it is possible to quantify the contribution of the selected hybrid color space Sd with respect to the preceding space SdÀ1 .1 ðSd Þ: ð17Þ As the difference between the dimensions of Sd and SdÀ1 is equal to one. the most discriminating hybrid color spaces should improve the clasd sification results. .1 ðSd Þ and the scalar W1. This strategy yields the dimension D of the adapted hybrid color space SD . denoted 1W ðSd =SdÀ1 Þ. PN x 1 . A similar decomposition can be applied to the matrix TðSd Þ.1 ðSd Þ: ð16Þ Similarly. The evolution of Jstop is analyzed in order to detect any decreasing phase which indicates that the new most discriminating hybrid color space Sd should yield lower performance in terms of discrimination between the pixel classes than the preceding one SdÀ1 .1 ðSd Þ WðSd Þ ¼ . the procedure stops when the value of this criterion decreases. ð15Þ W1. 5 .j À mj Þ Â ðxd À md Þ Á Á Á i¼1 i.j j 7 .

e. 3. an on-line player pixel classification scheme is used to perform a real-time segmentation of the successive Fig. a learning sample is interactively selected from images of the game. The aim of the procedure is to identify their teams by means of the analysis of the colors of their suits. the pixels representing the players of the two opposing teams and the referee. This procedure provides pertinent thresholds by means of the analysis of the one-dimensional histograms of the trichromatic components.30. Application to soccer color image analysis Many authors have tried to extract soccer players from video sequences for tracking purpose. This application has been chosen to show how psycho-visually heterogeneous regions in the ðR.34].e. they tend to fail in cases of occlusion and touching players. . Although good results have been reported with these segmentation techniques. In this context.. we propose to extract the players from color soccer images. For this purpose.202 N. 3). First. which may be heterogeneous. Soccer images (125 Â 125 pixels). there are three pixel classes of interest. This approach is designed to be integrated in a tracking player system. G. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 In order to evaluate the performance of our approach. The soccer player identification scheme is divided into two steps which are described in the two first parts of this section. 3. which are identified by the colors of their suits. Let us consider four images of such a sequence (see Fig. We apply our proposed classification scheme in the adapted hybrid color space to extract the soccer players and identify their teams in sequences of color images acquired by a fixed camera. i. 4).19]. either the bloc matching method [7] or the difference between the current image and a reference image which only contains the ground [1. the adapted hybrid color space is built off-line using a supervised learning procedure. Vandenbroucke et al. They apply either the multi-thresholding technique which is based on the analysis of the histograms of the three trichromatic components [10. The aim of the analysis of these images is to extract the players and the referee.. BÞ color space can be represented as sets of pixels sharing similar properties in the adapted hybrid color space. i. the pixels which represent the players (see Fig. Then. First. the ground is withdrawn by means of the OhlanderÕs multi-thresholding scheme [20] in order to extract the player pixels.

These player windows are extracted from a series of images where players are in different situations (running. . . the k th color component of the observation Xi. Nclass . . .) and in different positions with respect to the camera (facing the camera. images whose colors are represented in the so-built adapted hybrid color space. Player pixels extracted from the images of Fig.j . Nclass . If we consider the d color components of the representative player pixel xi. . j ¼ 1. xk . Experimental results presented in the last part of this section demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach. In each of these learning images. . for each class Cj . . Nclass . Using the notations defined in Section 2. pushing the ball. j ¼ 1. the construction procedure described in the preceding section asT sociates a d-dimensional observation Xi. dribbling. . i ¼ 1.j . each one containing the image of one player (see Fig. etc. .j . 6). the observations corresponding to the same player would be sensitive to non-significant local variations of his suit color. 3.1. Nx . . . it is necessary to construct a learning sample representative of the player pixel classes. . . jumping.N. 4). etc. . .j . 4. each player pixel is assigned to the class with the nearest center to its color in the adapted hybrid color space. turning their back toward the camera.j . For this purpose. j ¼ 1. In order to reduce the effects of such variations.j ¼ ½x1 . / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 203 Fig. 7). We select the same number NW of player windows for each class (see Fig. In order to analyze the discriminating properties of a d-dimensional candidate hybrid color space. bounding boxes are interactively adjusted on the players. xd Š with each represeni. . far or near the camera. Nx =NW player pixels are automatically and randomly selected in each of the NW player windows (see Fig. . We consider the pre-segmented learning images from which the background has been eliminated as previously explained (see Fig. . . Supervised learning scheme In order to determine the adapted hybrid color space for player pixel classification. . so as to extract rectangular player windows. .j i. each color component is evaluated in a neighborhood centered on the representative player pixel xi. . The learning sample is constituted of Nx representative player pixels xi.).j tative player pixel xi. the player pixels are supposed to belong to a set of Nclass classes Cj . In order to constitute the set of the Nx representative player pixels for each class Cj . . 5). To be more specific. 3. Vandenbroucke et al. .j i.1.

Player windows interactively extracted from learning images.2. we compute a feature vector XP ¼ ½x1 . The construction of the adapted hybrid color space is based on the analysis of this learning set. 5. 8 shows the evolution of the stopping criterion of the construction procedure which decreases after the second step of this sequential procedure and therefore. the segmentation of a sequence of color images can be achieved in real-time by means of the following classification scheme. . leads to this two-dimensional space. U 0 . the OhlanderÕs multi-thresholding extracts the player pixels of the color images. In order to classify the T so-extracted player pixels. aà . First. this procedure reduces non-significant local variations of the player suit colors. As during the learning step. bÃ Þ space and the CUV chroma component evaluated in the ðY 0 . 9). xD Š for each P P D player pixel P in the adapted hybrid color space S . . Fig. Vandenbroucke et al. . is computed as the mean value of this component for all the player pixels falling into a neighborhood centered on the representative player pixel xi. 3. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 Fig. Player pixel classification Once the off-line supervised learning scheme has provided the adapted hybrid color space SD .j .j . For this example. V 0 Þ space.204 N. the coordinates of XP are the mean color components of the player pixels falling into the previously defined neighborhood centered on the player pixel P (see Fig. the resulting adapted hybrid color space S D is the plane (D ¼ 2) which is defined by the aà color component of the ðLà . . which is constituted of the (Nx  Nclass ) vectors Xi. . Since only player pixels are taken into account for this mean evaluation.

defined as the mean vector j Mj ¼ ½m1 . mD ŠT in the adapted hybrid color space SD . 6. is evaluated as j j vffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi u D uX À Á2 ð19Þ DP ¼ kXP À Mj k ¼ t xd À m d : j P j d¼1 . Player windows. Fig. . The simple minimum distance decision rule is used to assign the player pixel P to the class with the nearest center in the adapted hybrid color space.N. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 205 Fig. Color soccer images (125  125 pixels). The Euclidean distance DP between XP and the center of each class Cj . 7. 17. Player windows. Fig. Representative player pixels. . Representative player pixels. . Vandenbroucke et al. 16. Fig. Fig. 10. .

3. but which are beyond the scope of this paper.1. Example 1 In order to compare the segmentation achieved in the adapted hybrid color space with the segmentation using classical color spaces. . we have not tried to use more sophisticated classification schemes such as those based on neural networks [15] or Markov random fields [18]. Results 3. we propose to segment four color images extracted from a sequence with two opposing players and the referee (see Fig. Vandenbroucke et al. 3 which have been used to build the learning sample. which could improve the results. 10 constitute a test sample extracted from the same sequence as the images of Fig.3. These im- Fig. Color soccer images (400 Â 150 pixels). 14.206 N. The images of Fig. 3. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 The player pixel is assigned to the class Cl with the smallest distance fCl ¼ Cl0 j DP ¼ minðDP Þg: l0 j j¼1 Nclass ð20Þ As our purpose is to compare the results achieved with the same classification procedure but in different color spaces. 10).

/ Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 207 Fig. 11(a) and (b). ages.N. Note that in the images of Figs. 12 show how the so-extracted player pixels have been classified in the previously determined adapted hybrid color space ðaà . 12 with those achieved when using the following 22 classical color spaces described in Fig. 1. The connected player pixels with the same label constitute regions which correspond to the different soccer players. The player pixels assigned to the same class are labelled with the same color. 10 by means of the OhlanderÕs multi-thresholding scheme are displayed in the images of Fig. In order to demonstrate the discriminating properties of the adapted hybrid color space. namely: . The images of Fig. 8. we compare the segmentation results shown in Fig. which are different from those of Fig. Player pixel neighborhood. This explains why the player pixels in the images of Figs. 11. which represent the legs or the socks of players are misclassified. 12(a) and (b). Stopping criterion evolution. CUV Þ. are not easy to segment because each of them contains at least two touching players. 9. Vandenbroucke et al. the colors of the legs or socks of these players are quite similar to the colors of the suits of opposing players. 3. Fig. The player pixels which are extracted from the images of Fig.

ðX . 11. U 0 . 13). I 0 . bà Þ. IÞ and the ðY 0 . H 0 Þ polar coordinate spaces deduced from the eight luminance–chrominance spaces and the ðH . uà . ðA. Fig. G. by comparison of automatically segmented images with interactively segmented ones (see Fig. • the eight luminance–chrominance spaces: ðLà . • the independent axis space: ðI1. zÞ. ðr. CUV . Y . the classification error rate in the adapted hybrid color space remains close to the lowest one achieved in the ðH . và Þ. For this purpose. ðY . IÞ perceptual coordinate space. aà . byÞ. we propose to measure the classification error rate. V 0 Þ. ðLà . 11. S. BÞ acquisition space to show that they are significantly higher than those obtained with the adapted hybrid color space. y. g. denoted e. Fig.208 N. ðY 0 . The player pixel classification which is achieved in the adapted hybrid color space provides the lowest error rates for the images of Figs. I3Þ. there is no other solution to assess the results. g. G. bÞ. Furthermore. S. gÞ. ðY 0 . For the image of Fig. hUV Þ spaces are the three classical color spaces leading to the lowest error rates. CUV Þ space. I2. C1. S. C. Table 1 contains these classification error rates for all the images of Fig. 11 classified in the adapted hybrid color space ðaà . C2Þ. Ch1 . 12. Vandenbroucke et al. Although the interactive assignment of the player pixels to the different classes is rather tedious. 11(a). ðI. They are compared to the error rate obtained with the ðaà . Player pixels of the images of Fig. Player pixels extracted from the images of Fig. we have added in Table 1 the error rates obtained with the ðR. ðbw. 10. r. bÞ. rg. IÞ space. . CUV Þ. ZÞ. Q0 Þ. the ðH . • the nine perceptual spaces including the eight ðL. BÞ. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 • the four primary spaces: ðR. Ch2 Þ. which is the adapted hybrid color space. 11(b)–(d). ðx. The ðr.

49 1.86 44. BÞ 32. we have selected the set of different player windows presented in Fig. 13.3. Table 1 Classification error rates of player pixels of Fig.2. hUV Þ ðaà . IÞ ðY 0 . Fig.19 11. 14(a).N.63 8.24 14.15 7. S. CUV Þ ðR.12 Image (b) 10.5 24. These player windows are selected in images of the same game. CUV .63 12. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 209 As the mean classification error rate associated with the adapted hybrid color space is the lowest one.63 23.25 Image (c) 5. 11 interactively classified. 17 contains the set of the selected representative player pixels of the four classes corresponding to the two teams. we propose to segment six color images extracted from a sequence with two opposing players.23 Mean error rate e 10. bÞ ðH. 14). During the supervised learning scheme. 14.73 .81 6. (e). 14 by means of the OhlanderÕs multi-thresholding scheme. Example 2 In order to demonstrate the performance of our method in non-trivial situations. Vandenbroucke et al. The images of Fig.57 Image (d) 0. 11 Color space Classification error rates e Image (a) ðr. G.29 48. we conclude that the classification in this two-dimensional hybrid color space provides better results than the classification in the three classical three-dimensional color spaces leading to the lowest error rates.08 4. and (f). This second example has been selected to get an insight into the behavior of our segmentation scheme in rather complex situations. Fig.01 27. one goalkeeper and the referee (see Fig.65 1.39 15.98 36.77 17.14 0. 3. one of the two goalkeepers and the referee. 15 show the player pixels which are extracted from the images of Fig.28 11. 14(c) and (d) and touching players in the images of Figs. Player pixels of the images of Fig. 16. (b). g. but they are different from those of Fig.35 29. such as partially hidden players in the images of Figs.

Note that the three players of the image of Fig. As for the first example. The ðLà . 15 are classified in this adapted hybrid color space. 14. hab Þ. Player pixels extracted from the images of Fig. b Þ spaces are the three classical color spaces which yield the lowest error rates. Ch1 . a . / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 Fig. For this purpose.210 N. The classification error rates of these spaces for all the images of Fig. Cuv . the ðLà . 14(d). There is only one error which appears in the image of Fig. The images of Fig. 15 are . The classification is achieved for all the images of Fig.3. The adapted hybrid color space resulting from the analysis of these representative player pixels is the plane defined by the CIE x chromaticity coordinate and the Ch2 color component of the ðY . 18(d) are identified without ambiguity whereas they are visually difficult to distinguish in the image of Fig. 15 in all the classical color à à spaces used in the first example (see Section 3. 15. Furthermore. touching players in the images are represented by distinct regions (see the images of Figs. 19). the player pixels are interactively assigned to the different classes (see Fig. Cab . 18(a)–(c) and (e)). except if we look at their shadows. 18(f) where the white label region standing between the red and green labels regions does not correspond to any soccer player. huv Þ Ã Ã Ã and the ðL . we compare the results of player pixel classification achieved in the adapted hybrid color space and in different classical color spaces. Vandenbroucke et al. Ch2 Þ CarronÕs space [12]. 18 show how the player pixels of the images of Fig.1).

the use of the adapted hybrid color space improves the classification results for three images among the six ones of Fig. that there does not exist one single classical color à space which is adapted to all of them.3. Ch2 Þ space.N.3. 15(e). (c). Cuv . 15(a). For all the images of Fig. while the ðL . 3. 15. G. 15(e). Dimension of the adapted hybrid color space For these two examples. huv Þ space is the best à à one for the images of Figs. These three images are so difficult to segment. 15(b) and (f). and (d) than the error rates associated with the three classical color spaces leading to the lowest error rates. . 15. 15 classified in the adapted hybrid color space ðx. So. the ðLà . (e). Ch2 Þ. which is the adapted hybrid color space. and (f) for which the adapted hybrid color space does not provide the lowest error rate. hab Þ space provides the best results for the image of Fig. The classification error rates achieved in the adapted hybrid color space are higher for the images of Figs. BÞ acquisition space. 15(b) and (f). Let us consider the three images of Figs. The error rates achieved with these three color spaces are compared with those obtained with the ðx. this two-dimensional adapted hybrid color space provides better classification results than the ðR. Cab . and lower for the images of Figs. 18. Indeed. given in Table 2. the two adapted hybrid color spaces are planes and their dimensions are not equal to three. Vandenbroucke et al. Player pixels of the images of Fig. as for classical color spaces. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 211 Fig. similar for the image of Fig. 15(b).

92 13.24 23. 19.72 14.59 8.09 23. In order to evaluate the relevance of this dimension.89 12.36 11.00 7.30 11.69 Image (f) 12.76 10. Vandenbroucke et al.65 9.60 Mean error rate e 11.98 4. hÃ Þ ab à ðLà .38 7. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 Fig.41 7. bÃ Þ Image (b) 5. G.03 Image (d) 22.07 33.58 4. Ch2 Þ ðR. hÃ Þ uv ðLà .78 Image (c) 16.43 11. .40 32. Table 2 Classification error rates of player pixels of Fig.37 ðx. BÞ As above mentioned. Cab .53 16. 15 interactively classified.44 12.13 16. the sequential procedure of the adapted hybrid color space construction stops when the stopping criterion decreases. 15 Color space Classification error rates e Image (a) à ðLà . Cuv .212 N.19 4.82 Image (e) 4.97 21.71 4. aà . This strategy yields the dimension D of the adapted hybrid color space.14 24.79 25. Player pixels of the images of Fig.01 23.44 12.82 16. the images of the two examples are segmented using the six first most discriminating hybrid color spaces selected during the sequential construction procedure.

20 and 21 display. 20(a)). 20. Stopping criterion and mean classification error rate for example 1. Fig. the evolution of (a) the stopping criterion and (b) the classification error rate with respect to d. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 213 Figs. Fig. 21(b) indicates that the two-dimensional adapted hybrid color Fig. Vandenbroucke et al. 21. . Stopping criterion and mean classification error rate for example 2. for the examples 1 and 2. These two figures show that when the value of the stopping criterion Jstop begins to decrease.N. the stopping criterion reaches a local maximum at the second step of the construction procedure which generates a two-dimensional adapted hybrid color space (see Fig. the classification error rate e begins to increase. 20(b) shows that the mean classification error rate associated with the so-determined two-dimensional adapted hybrid color space is the lowest one. This example illustrates the relevance of the stopping criterion which is integrated in the selection procedure. In the second example. Fig. the dimension of the most discriminating hybrid color space selected at step d of the construction proced dure. the stopping criterion decreases after the second step of the construction procedure. but it reaches its maximum value at the fourth step (see Fig. In the first example. 21(a)).

So. the slight improvement of the classification results achieved in the four-dimensional most discriminating hybrid color space is not justified in terms of computing time. when analyzing their colors in the adapted hybrid color space. Hence. in the context of a real-time implementation of the segmentation scheme. BÞ acquisition space yields poor results. Conclusion In this paper.214 N. When the colors of the players are heterogeneous. in this example. This is one of the reasons why the color components of the adapted hybrid color space do not belong necessarily to the same classical color space. These spaces. the classification in a four-dimensional space is more time consuming than the segmentation achieved in the two-dimensional adapted hybrid color space. The adapted hybrid color space. 4. we have proposed to classify pixels in hybrid color spaces which are specifically designed to yield the best discrimination. Furthermore. The adapted hybrid color spaces which are selected in these two chosen examples are planes that provide better results than the three-dimensional classical color . even when its dimension is equal to three. On the other hand. However. As there does not exist any classical color space which provides satisfying results for the segmentation of all kinds of images. Vandenbroucke et al. the colors of pixels belonging to the same region are more homogeneous when they are analyzed in the adapted hybrid color space than when they are analyzed in one of the classical color spaces. the adapted hybrid color space is determined by means of an analysis of the data discriminating properties whereas the classical color spaces respect psycho-visual and physical properties. In order to evaluate the performance of our approach. which is designed to discriminate the considered player pixel classes. are built by means of a sequential procedure in a supervised context. G. called the adapted hybrid color spaces. the segmentation achieved in the ðR. BÞ color space become more homogeneous when they are analyzed in the adapted hybrid color space. we have underlined the influence of the color spaces on color image segmentation results. Indeed. G. the discriminating properties of the selected color components are enhanced due to the better homogeneity and separability of the different player pixel classes. They are constituted of a small number of color components which are as less correlated as possible and which can belong to different classical color spaces. These experiments show that there does not exist any classical color space which is well adapted to the discrimination of all the player pixel classes. / Computer Vision and Image Understanding 90 (2003) 190–216 space provides a slightly higher mean classification error rate than the four-dimensional most discriminating hybrid color space. a very simple classification scheme achieved in the adapted hybrid color space provides satisfying results. is a relevant solution for the extraction of soccer players and the identification of theirs teams. we have applied this adapted hybrid color space representation to soccer color image analysis. This explains why regions with heterogeneous colors in the ðR. Other experiments reported in [40–45] have shown that the adapted hybrid color space rarely coincides with one of the classical color spaces.

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