Snakes: Active contour models Snakes: Active contour models
Paper summary Low level tasks such as edge, contour and line detection are an essential precursor to any downstream image analysis processes. However, most of the approaches targeting these problems work as isolated and autonomous entities, without using any high-level image information such as context, global shapes, or user-level input. This leads to errors that can further propagate through the pipeline without providing an opportunity for future correction. In order to address this problem, Kass et al. investigate the application of an energy minimization based framework for edge, line and contour detection in 2D images. Although energy minimization had earlier been utilized for similar tasks, Kass et al’s framework exposes a novel external force factor, which allows external forces or stimuli to guide the ``snake" towards a “correct answer”. Moreover, the framework exhibits an active behaviour since it is designed to always minimize the energy functional. A “snake” is a controlled continuity spline which is under the influence of forces in the energy functional. The energy functional is made up of three terms, where $v(s)$ is a parametrized snake. \begin{equation} E_{snake}^{*} = \int_{0}^{1}E_{internal}(v(s)) + E_{image}(v(s)) + E_{constraint}(v(s)) \end{equation} The internal energy force term is entirely dependent on the shape of the curve, which constraints the snake to be “continuous” and well behaved. The force further encapsulates two terms which control the degree of stretchness of the curve (represented by the first derivative of the image), and ensure that the curve does not have too many bends (using the second derivative of the image). The image energy force term controls what kind of salient features does the snake track. The force encapsulates three terms, corresponding to the presence of lines, edges and a termination term. The line term uses raw image intensity as energy term, while the edge term uses a negative square of image gradient to make the snake attracted to contours with large image gradients. Further, a termination term allows the snake to find terminations of line segments and corners in the image. The combination of line and termination terms forces the snake to be attracted to edges and terminations. The constraint term is used to model external stimuli, which can come from high-level processes, or through user intervention. The framework allows the application of a spring to the curve to constraint the snake or move it in a desired direction. In order to test the framework, a user interface called ``Snake Pit" was created which allowed user control in the form of a spring attachment. The overall approach was tested on a number of different images, including the ones with contour illusion. The framework was also extended for application to stereo matching and motion tracking. For stereo, an extra energy term is added to constraint the snakes in two disparate images to stay close in the coordinate space, which models the fact that disparities in images do not change too rapidly. However the framework suffers when subjected to a high rate-of-change in both stereo matching and motion tracking problems. The proposed framework performed acceptably in many challenging scenarios. However the framework's underlying assumption about following edges and contours using image gradients may fail in cases where there is not much gradient information present in images.

Summary by Anmol Sharma 1 week ago
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