A New Approach to Automatic Saliency Identification in Images Based on Irregularity of Regions
This research introduces an image retrieval system which is, in different ways, inspired by the human vision system. The main problems with existing machine vision systems and image understanding are studied and identified, in order to design a system that relies on human image understanding. The main improvement of the developed system is that it uses the human attention principles in the process of image contents identification. Human attention shall be represented by saliency extraction algorithms, which extract the salient regions or in other words, the regions of interest. This work presents a new approach for the saliency identification which relies on the irregularity of the region. Irregularity is clearly defined and measuring tools developed. These measures are derived from the formality and variation of the region with respect to the surrounding regions. Both local and global saliency have been studied and appropriate algorithms were developed based on the local and global irregularity defined in this work. The need for suitable automatic clustering techniques motivate us to study the available clustering techniques and to development of a technique that is suitable for salient points clustering. Based on the fact that humans usually look at the surrounding region of the gaze point, an agglomerative clustering technique is developed utilising the principles of blobs extraction and intersection. Automatic thresholding was needed in different stages of the system development. Therefore, a Fuzzy thresholding technique was developed. Evaluation methods of saliency region extraction have been studied and analysed; subsequently we have developed evaluation techniques based on the extracted regions (or points) and compared them with the ground truth data. The proposed algorithms were tested against standard datasets and compared with the existing state-of-the-art algorithms. Both quantitative and qualitative benchmarking are presented in this thesis and a detailed discussion for the results has been included. The benchmarking showed promising results in different algorithms. The developed algorithms have been utilised in designing an integrated saliency-based image retrieval system which uses the salient regions to give a description for the scene. The system auto-labels the objects in the image by identifying the salient objects and gives labels based on the knowledge database contents. In addition, the system identifies the unimportant part of the image (background) to give a full description for the scene.
- PhD