Skin Color-Based Video Segmentation under Time-Varying Illumination
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A novel approach for real-time skin segmentation in video sequences is described. The approach enables reliable skin segmentation despite wide variation in illumination during tracking. An explicit second order Markov model is used to predict evolution of the skin-color (HSV) histogram over time. Histograms are dynamically updated based on feedback from the current segmentation and predictions of the Markov model. The evolution of the skin-color distribution at each frame is parameterized by translation, scaling and rotation in color space. Consequent changes in geometric parameterization of the distribution are propagated by warping and resampling the histogram. The parameters of the discrete-time dynamic Markov model are estimated using Maximum Likelihood Estimation, and also evolve over time. The accuracy of the new dynamic skin color segmentation algorithm is compared to that obtained via a static color model. Segmentation accuracy is evaluated using labeled ground-truth video sequences taken from staged experiments and popular movies. An overall increase in segmentation accuracy of up to 24% is observed in 17 out of 21 test sequences. In all but one case the skin-color classification rates for our system were higher, with background classification rates comparable to those of the static segmentation.