Heterogeneous Face Recognition: A Common Encoding Feature Discriminant Approach

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, 2017, 26 (5), pp. 2079 - 2089
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© 1992-2012 IEEE. Heterogeneous face recognition is an important, yet challenging problem in face recognition community. It refers to matching a probe face image to a gallery of face images taken from alternate imaging modality. The major challenge of heterogeneous face recognition lies in the great discrepancies between different image modalities. Conventional face feature descriptors, e.g., local binary patterns, histogram of oriented gradients, and scale-invariant feature transform, are mostly designed in a handcrafted way and thus generally fail to extract the common discriminant information from the heterogeneous face images. In this paper, we propose a new feature descriptor called common encoding model for heterogeneous face recognition, which is able to capture common discriminant information, such that the large modality gap can be significantly reduced at the feature extraction stage. Specifically, we turn a face image into an encoded one with the encoding model learned from the training data, where the difference of the encoded heterogeneous face images of the same person can be minimized. Based on the encoded face images, we further develop a discriminant matching method to infer the hidden identity information of the cross-modality face images for enhanced recognition performance. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is demonstrated (on several public-domain face datasets) in two typical heterogeneous face recognition scenarios: matching NIR faces to VIS faces and matching sketches to photographs.
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