Looking at Faces: Detection, Tracking and Pose Estimation

Looking at Faces: Detection, Tracking and Pose Estimation

Place: Large Lecture Room

Affiliation: Cmputer Vision Centre and Dep. of Computer Science, UAB. Barcelona, Spain.  

Humans can effortlessly perceive faces, follow them over space and time, and decode their rich content, such as pose, identity and expression. However, despite many decades of research on automatic facial perception in areas like face detection, expression recognition, pose estimation and face recognition, and despite many successes, a complete solution remains elusive. This thesis is dedicated to three problems in automatic face perception, namely face detection, face tracking and pose estimation.

In face detection, an initial simple model is presented that uses pixel-based heuristics to segment skin locations and hand-crafted rules to determine the locations of the faces present in an image. Different colorspaces are studied to judge whether a colorspace transformation can aid skin color detection. The output of this study is used in the design of a more complex face detector that is able to successfully generalize to different scenarios.

In face tracking, a framework that combines estimation and control in a joint scheme is presented to track a face with a single pan-tilt-zoom camera. While this work is mainly motivated by tracking faces, it can be easily applied atop of any detector to track different objects. The applicability of this method is demonstrated on simulated as well as real-life scenarios.

The last and most important part of this thesis is dedicate to monocular head pose estimation. In this part, a method based on partial least squares (PLS) regression is proposed to estimate pose and solve the alignment problem simultaneously. The contributions of this work are two-fold: 1) demonstrating that the proposed method achieves better than state-of-the-art results on the estimation problem and 2) developing a technique to reduce misalignment based on the learned PLS factors that outperform multiple instance learning (MIL) without the need for any re-training or the inclusion of misaligned samples in the training process, as normally done in MIL

Thesis Murad Al Haj