WO2012074361A1 - Method of image segmentation using intensity and depth information - Google Patents

Method of image segmentation using intensity and depth information Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2012074361A1
WO2012074361A1 PCT/MY2011/000123 MY2011000123W WO2012074361A1 WO 2012074361 A1 WO2012074361 A1 WO 2012074361A1 MY 2011000123 W MY2011000123 W MY 2011000123W WO 2012074361 A1 WO2012074361 A1 WO 2012074361A1
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intensity
image data
based
depth
step
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PCT/MY2011/000123
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French (fr)
Inventor
Ching Hau Chan
Sheau Wei Chau
Hock Woon Hon
Hafriza Zakaria Khairil
Siu Jing Then
Yen San Yong
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Mimos Berhad
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Priority to MYPI2010005761A priority patent/MY150361A/en
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Publication of WO2012074361A1 publication Critical patent/WO2012074361A1/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06TIMAGE DATA PROCESSING OR GENERATION, IN GENERAL
    • G06T7/00Image analysis
    • G06T7/10Segmentation; Edge detection
    • G06T7/11Region-based segmentation
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06TIMAGE DATA PROCESSING OR GENERATION, IN GENERAL
    • G06T2207/00Indexing scheme for image analysis or image enhancement
    • G06T2207/10Image acquisition modality
    • G06T2207/10004Still image; Photographic image
    • G06T2207/10012Stereo images
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06TIMAGE DATA PROCESSING OR GENERATION, IN GENERAL
    • G06T2207/00Indexing scheme for image analysis or image enhancement
    • G06T2207/10Image acquisition modality
    • G06T2207/10016Video; Image sequence
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06TIMAGE DATA PROCESSING OR GENERATION, IN GENERAL
    • G06T2207/00Indexing scheme for image analysis or image enhancement
    • G06T2207/10Image acquisition modality
    • G06T2207/10028Range image; Depth image; 3D point clouds

Abstract

A method of image segmentation using intensity and depth value information is disclosed. The method of the present invention comprises steps of: a) segmenting an image data into intensity-based segmented regions based on intensity value of each pixel in the image data: b) obtaining depth value and confidence level information of each pixel in the image data to form a depth map: c) comparing the intensity-based segmented regions against the depth map at the corresponding regions: d) determining if the respective intensity-based segmented regions consist of more than one depth value; e) further segmenting the respective intensity-based segmented regions when the respective intensity-based segmented regions consist depth value with no confidence: and f) splitting the intensity-based segmented region to extract object therefrom, when the depth values with confidence levels within the intensity-based segmented regions are determined.

Description

Method of linage Segmentation Using Intensity and Depth Information

Field of the Invention

[0001] The present invention relates to image processing. In particular, the present invention relates to a method of image segmentation using intensity and depth information.

Background

[0002] Image segmentation is a computer process to divide an image data into smaller segmented regions based on some image characteristics, such as intensity, color, texture, depth value and so forth. The main purpose of image segmentation is to locate plurality of different objects within the image data. Typically, an object in the image data has similar characteristics, and therefore, in image segmentation process, a resultant segmented region is usually associated with an object in the image data.

[0003] Intensity-based image segmentation is one of the common approaches for image segmentation. In intensity-based image segmentation, an intensity value of each pixel in the image data is determined. Pixels having similar intensity values are segmented as one region. This region is recognized as one particular object in the image data. Fig. 1A exemplifies an original image data 100 taken from an imaging device, and Fig. IB exemplifies a processed image 110 of image data 100 shown in Fig. 1A, generated from intensity-based image segmentation. Referring to the original image data 100, in a proper image segmentation process, the region 111 of Fig. IB is supposed to be identified as two separated regions as there are two different objects 101, 106 within the region 111. However, in the intensity-based segmentation process, the objects 101, 106 are identified as one region 111 as they have similar intensity values. In conclusion, the intensity-based image method has difficulties when it is run to extract two overlapping objects having similar intensity values as two different regions.

[0004] Depth-based image segmentation is another known image segmentation technique. The depth value of each pixel in an image data is obtained and mapped in a depth map. In depth-based image segmentation, the technique works by simply detecting all objects within same depth plane as one region, separating it from the background layer which located at different depth plane. Such technique does not offer local segmentation on plurality of different objects which are located at same depth plane within the image data. Fig. 1C exemplifies a processed image 120 of the image 100 of Fig. 1 A. generated from depth-based image segmentation. Regardless of plurality of objects resided within the foreground layer 102, the depth-based image segmentation segments the image 100 into two regions only: region 121 corresponds to the background layer 101 and region 122 corresponds to the foreground layer 102. Such method may not be sufficient to extract details from a complex image data. [0005] Although there are many available methods for image segmentation, the results are often unsatisfactory. An image segmentation method that could compensate the weaknesses of prior arts is therefore required. Summary

[0006] According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of image segmentation that combines intensity-based image segmentation method with depth-based image segmentation method in order to eliminate the weaknesses of each method. In particular, the present invention discloses a method to enhance the quality of intensity-based segmented image using depth information of the image.

[0007] In one aspect of the present invention, the method comprises steps of: a) segmenting an image data into intensity-based segmented regions based on intensity value of each pixel in the image data: b) obtaining depth value and confidence level information of each pixel in the image data to form a depth map: c) comparing the intensity-based segmented regions against the depth map at the corresponding regions; d) determining if the respective intensity-based segmented regions consist of more than one depth value; e) further segmenting the respective intensity-based segmented regions when the respective intensity-based segmented regions consist depth value with no confidence: and splitting the intensity-based segmented region to extract object therefrom, when the depth values with confidence levels within the intensity-based segmented regions are determined.

[0008] In one embodiment, the intensity-based image segmentation of each pixel in the original image data comprises the steps of a) generating a histogram; b) determining valley points on the histogram: and c) segmenting the original image data based on the valley points of the histogram. [0009] In another embodiment, the extraction of depth value and confidence level of each pixel in the original image data comprises the steps of a) deriving depth value for each pixel: b) calculating a confidence level for each depth value; c) forming a depth map based on the depth values with confidence level; and d) removing depth value having a confidence level below a threshold confidence level.

[0010] In a further embodiment, the confidence level of the depth value of one image data is affected by background color and texture of the image data.

[0011] In another embodiment, after the original image data is segmented into the intensity-based segmented regions, one of the intensity-based segmented image regions is selected for further processing to extract objects.

[0012] In yet a further embodiment, the step of intensity-based segmentation of the original image data and the step of obtaining depth value and confidence level of the image data are processed simultaneously.

[0013] In yet another embodiment, the step of intensity-based segmentation of the original image data and the step of obtaining depth value and confidence level of the image data are processed independently.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0014] This invention will be described by way of non-limiting embodiments of the present invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: [0015] Fig. 1A exemplifies an input image to be processed; [0016] Fig. IB exemplifies a segmentation result of intensity-based image segmentation for the input image data shown in Fig. 1A;

[0017] Fig. 1C exemplifies a segmentation result of depth-based image segmentation for the input image data shown in Fig. 1A; [0018] Fig. 2 is a flow chart of a method for image segmentation according to one embodiment of the present invention;

[0019] Fig. 3 exemplifies a process for intensity-based image segmentation for an image data:

[0020] Fig. 4 exemplifies a process for depth-based image segmentation: [0021] Fig. 5A shows a flowchart of a segmentation process of input image data shown in Fig. 1A according to the present invention:

[0022] Fig. 5B illustrates result of each step taken during the image segmentation process of input image data shown in Fig. 1A according to another embodiment the present invention: [0023] Fig. 6 exemplifies another input image data: and

[0024] Fig. 6A shows a flowchart of the entire segmentation process of input image data shown in Fig. 6 according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

[0025] Fig. 6B illustrates result of each step taken during the image segmentation process of input image data shown in Fig. 6 according to the present invention. Detailed Description [0026] The following descriptions of a number of specific and alternative embodiments are provided to understand the inventive features of the present invention. It shall be apparent to one skilled in the art, however that this invention may be practiced without such specific details. Some of the details may not be described in length so as to not obscure the invention. For ease of reference, common reference numerals will be used throughout the figures when referring to same or similar features common to the figures.

[0027] Fig. 1A is an input image data 100, which is assembled by background layer 101 and foreground layer 102, wherein the foreground layer 102 contains a plurality of different objects 103, 104, 105, 106, and 107 with different intensity values. The input image data 100 may be taken from an imaging device, such as digital camera. One of the objects 106The object 106, residing within the foreground layer 102, has similar intensity value with part of the background layer 101. [0028] Fig. IB exemplifies a processed image 110 of the input image data 100 shown in Fig. 1A. The processed image 110 is obtained from segmenting the input image data 100 based on intensity. The object 106 and part of the background layer 101, which have similar intensity value, are segmented as one region 111.

[0029] Fig. 1C exemplifies another processed image 120 of the input image data 100 shown in Fig. 1A. The processed image 120 is obtained from segmenting the input image data based on depth value. The input image data 100 is segmented into two regions, i.e. region of background layer 121 and region of foreground layer 122. There is no local segmentation occurs within the foreground layer 122 of the input image data 100 despite plurality of different objects can be extracted from the foreground layer.

[0030] Fig. 2 illustrates a flow diagram of a method for image segmentation in according to one embodiment of the present invention. Generally, the method combines intensity-based image segmentation with depth-based image segmentation, hence enhancing the quality of segmented image. The method 200 of image segmentation comprises inputting an image data at step 201: segmenting the image data into intensity-based segmented regions at step 202; extracting depth value of each pixel in the input image data, mapped the depth value into a depth map. and calculating confidence level of the depth value of the input image data at step 203; selecting one intensity-based segmented region at step 204; comparing the intensity-based segmented region against corresponding depth value region of the respective intensity-based segmented region at step 206; determining whether the intensity-based segmented region consists of uniform depth value at step 207: determining whether the intensity-based segmented region consist of the depth value with no confidence at step 208: further segmentation for the intensity-based segmented region if required at step 209: splitting the intensity-based segmented region into different objects if required at step 210; proceeding to another intensity- based segmented region at step 211. [0031] Referring to Fig. 2, after inputting/acquiring the input image data at step 201, the image process proceeds to step 202, i.e. segmenting the input image data obtained from step 201 based on intensity value. At the step 202, the intensity value of each pixel in the input image data is determined and the input image data is segmented into smaller regions based on the intensity value of each pixel in the original image data. At the step 203, depth values of each pixel in the input image data are mapped into a depth map and confidence level of the depth values for each pixel is calculated accordingly. The confidence level of the depth value indicates how confidence the depth value is and may be affected by the background colour and texture of image data. The method of intensity based image segmentation as well as extracting depth value and its confidence level is widely known in the art, therefore no further description will be provided herein. Steps 202 and 203 are carried out independently to each other. They can therefore be carried out simultaneously, or one after another. After the step 202 and 203 are completed, one of the intensity-based segmented regions is selected for further processing at step 204.

[0032] At step 206, the selected intensity-based segmented region is compared against corresponding depth value region within the depth map to determine whether the respective intensity-based segmented region consists of more than one depth value at step 207. There are two possible scenarios at step 207, i.e. when the intensity-based segmented region consists of one depth value and when the intensity-based segmented region consists of more than one depth value.

[0033] When the corresponding depth value region consists of more than one depth value, the confidence level of the depth value is evaluated at step 208. When the depth value has no confidence level, it indicates that the respective intensity-based segmented region might actually consist of more than one object. Hence, the respective intensity-based segmented region is further segmented at step 209. On the other hand, when the respective intensity-based segmented region has satisfactory confidence level, the respective intensity-based segmented region is split at step 210 for extracting objects from the respective intensity-based segmented region. After evaluating the depth value information of the respective intensity-based segmented region, the image processing continues to process another intensity-based segmented region of the original image data at step 211 by looping back to step 206 and continuing the image processing therefrom. When all intensity-based segmented regions of the original image data have been evaluated, the image segmentation ends.

[0034] Another scenario that might happen at step 207 is, the corresponding depth value region consists of only one depth value. When the depth-value region consist of only one depth value, it indicates that the respective intensity-based segmented region consists of only one object, hence the respective intensity-based segmented region does not need further processing based on its depth value information. The image processing will then proceed to other intensity-based segmented regions of the image data at step 211 and the process will loop back to step 206. Once all intensity-based segmented regions of the image data have been processed, the image processing ends.

[0035] Fig. 3 exemplifies an intensity-based image segmentation process that can be carried out at the step 202 of Fig. 2. The intensity-based image segmentation process is a histogram-based segmentation. The process 202 comprises steps of inputting the input image data at step 201; getting the intensity value histogram of the input image data at step 302; getting the valley point of the histogram at step 303; and finally segmenting the image data base on the valley point at step 304.

[0036] Fig. 4 exemplifies a flow chart for extracting depth information of the input image data at step 203 of Fig.2. The depth information extraction process at step 203 comprises steps of inputting the image data at step 201; getting the depth value which is mapped at one depth map at step 402; calculating the confidence level for each depth value at step 403: and removing depth value which is under threshold confidence level at step 404.

[0037] The intensity-based image segmentation process and the depth information illustrated in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 respectively are provided above by way of example only, not limitations. It is understood to a skilled person that many other algorithms or methods are available in the art and they may be adapted in the present invention.

[0038] The method 200 of Fig. 2 is now further illustrated by way of applying the method 200 to the input image data 100. Fig. 5A in conjunction with Fig. 5B illustrate application of method 200 to the input image data 100. Fig. 5A shows a flowchart of the segmentation process of input image data 100 according to the present invention, whilst Fig. 5B illustrates the resultant image of each step taken during the image segmentation process of input image data 100. in accordance with the present invention. As mentioned above, the input image data 100 contains two layers, i.e. background layer 101 and foreground layer 102. The foreground layer contains a plurality of objects 103, 104, 105, 106, and 107. [0039] Inputting image data 100 at step 531 shown in Fig. 5A. the image data 100 is first segmented based on intensity values in accordance with step 534 to obtain intensity-based segmented image data 503 shown in Fig. 5B. The intensity-based segmented image data 503 consists of several regions, i.e. region 503A corresponds to object 103, region 503B corresponds to object 104, region 503C corresponds to object 105, region 503D corresponds to object 106 and part of background 101, and region 503E corresponds to object 107. Since part of background 101 layer has similar intensity and is overlapping the object 106, they are segmented as one region 503D.

[0040] The depth information of the image data 100 is also extracted at step 541 of Fig. 5A, and a depth map 120 of the image data 100 is obtained. The depth map 120 contains two depth-value regions, i.e. region 120A corresponds to background layer 101 and region 120B corresponds to foreground layer 102. Referring to steps 404 of Fig. 4, when any depth value within the depth map is under threshold confidence level, the depth value is removed. Reviewing the image data 100, all depth values of background layer 101 of the image data 100 are under threshold confidence level. Therefore, the depth values are removed and the background layer 101 is represented as black pixel region 120A in the depth map 120.

[0041] Still referring to Fig. 5A, at step 535, one intensity-based segmented region of the intensity-based segmented image data 503, is selected for further processing. For simplicity, the intensity-based segmented region 503D is selected first. At step 536, the intensity-based segmented region 503D is compared against a corresponding depth-value region 120C within the depth map 120. It is determined at step 537 that the depth-value region 120C consists of more than one depth value. It is then further determined, at step 538 of Fig. 5 A, that the region 120C consists of depth value with no confidence due to the presence of black pixels in the depth value region 120C of the depth map 120. Because the depth value region 120C has no confidence, the corresponding intensity-based segmented region 503D further segmented at step 539. After further segmentation at step 539, the process for this respective region 503D stops. Further segmentation of region 503D results in a new intensity-based segmented region 504 with its histogram 504A. This additional intensity-based segmented region 504 will be treated as another intensity-based segmented image region to be processed according to method 200 of Fig. 2. The image segmentation process of image data 100 then proceeds to the next intensity- based segmented region, for example region 503A of the intensity-based segmented image data 503, at step 540. The image segmentation process of the input image data 100 stops when all intensity-based segmented regions of intensity-based segmented image data 503 have been processed.

[0042] To give further illustration of method 200 of Fig. 2, another input image data 600, shown in Fig. 6, is being processed. The image data 600 contains a background layer 611 and two foreground layers; 612 and 613. The image data contains a plurality of objects 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, and 610, wherein object 605 and 608 are having similar intensity and overlapping each other.

[0043] Fig. 6A shows a flowchart of the segmentation process of input image data 600, whilst Fig. 6B illustrates the resultant images of each step taken during the image segmentation process of input image data 600. At step 641, the input image data 600 is acquired. The input image data 600 is then segmented based on the intensity value at step 642. The intensity-based segmented image data 620, is obtained from step 642 wherein the intensity-based segmented image data 620 consists of several regions, i.e. region 620A corresponds to the object 601, region 620B corresponds to the object 602, region 620C corresponds to the object 603, region 620D corresponds to the object 604, region 620E corresponds to the object 605 and 608, region 620F corresponds to the object 606, region 620G corresponds to the object 607, region 620H corresponds to the object 609, and region 6201 corresponds to the object 610. The object 605 and 608 is segmented as one region 620E because both objects have similar intensity value. The depth map 630 of the input image data 600 is also extracted at step 643. The depth map 630 contains three depth- value regions, i.e. region 631 corresponds to the background layer 611; region 632 corresponds to the first foreground layer 612; and region 633 corresponds to the second foreground layer 613. At step 644, one intensity-based segmented region of the intensity-based segmented image data 620 is selected for further processing. For simplicity, the region 620E is selected first. The selected region 620E is then compared against a corresponding depth-value region 614 within the depth map 630 at step 645. From the corresponding depth-value region 614, at step 646 it is determined that the depth value region 614 has more than one depth value. Next at step 647 of Fig. 6A, it is further determined that the depth- value region 614 has a satisfactory confidence level. Hence, based on information obtained from the depth-value region 614, at step 648, the region 620E is split into two different regions, 625A and 625B representing two different objects 605 and 608 respectively. As image processing of the intensity-based segmented image region 620E is completed, the image segmentation process of the input image data 600 continues to process other intensity-based segmented regions of the intensity- based segmented image data 620 at step 649. Once all intensity-based segmented regions of the intensity-based segmented image data 620 have been processed, image segmentation process of the input image data 600 stops.

[0044] The method according to the present invention helps to compensate the confusion that might occur in either intensity-based image segmentation or depth- based image segmentation. In accordance to the present invention, the method helps to determine whether a segmented-image region requires further segmentation or splitting the segmented-region into smaller region using depth information of an image data. The method is thus able to enhance the quality of segmented image.

[0045] The above description illustrates various embodiments of the present invention along with examples of how aspects of the present invention may be implemented. While specific embodiments have been described and illustrated it is understood that many charges, modifications, variations and combinations thereof could be made to the present invention without departing from the scope of the present invention. The above examples, embodiments, instructions semantics, and drawings should not be deemed to be the only embodiments, and are presented to illustrate the flexibility and advantages of the present invention as defined by the following claims:

Claims

Claims
1. A method of processing an original image data obtained through an imaging device, the method comprising: segmenting the original image data into intensity-based segmented regions based on intensity value of each pixel in the original image data; obtaining a depth value and a confidence level of each pixel in the original image data to form a depth map; comparing the intensity-based segmented regions against the depth map at the corresponding regions; determining if the respective intensity-based segmented regions consist of more than one depth value; further segmenting the respective intensity-based segmented regions when the intensity-based segmented regions consist depth value with no confidence; and splitting the intensity-based segmented regions to extract object threrefrom, when the depth values with confidence level within the intensity-based segmented regions are determined.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the wherein segmenting the original image data comprises: generating a histogram; determining valley points on the histogram; and segmenting the original image data based on the valley points of the histogram.
3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the step of obtaining depth value and confidence level of each pixel in the original image data comprising: deriving depth value for each pixel; calculating a confidence level for each depth value; forming a depth map based on the depth values with confidence level; and removing depth value having a confidence level below a threshold confidence level. 4. A method according to claim 1, wherein the confidence level of the depth value of one image data is affected by background color and texture of the image data.
S. A method according to claim 1, wherein after the original image data is segmented into the intensity-based segmented regions, further comprising selecting one of the segmented-iinage regions for further processing to extract objects. 6. A method according to claim 5, further comprising selecting another intensity- based segmented region for processing to extract object.
7. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of segmenting original image data and the step of obtaining depth value and confidence level are processed simultaneously.
8. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of segmenting original image data and the step of obtaining depth value and confidence level are processed independently.
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