Sánchez Lozano, Enrique
(2017)
Continuous regression: a functional regression approach to facial landmark tracking.
PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
Abstract
Facial Landmark Tracking (Face Tracking) is a key step for many Face Analysis systems, such as Face Recognition, Facial Expression Recognition, or Age and Gender Recognition, among others. The goal of Facial Landmark Tracking is to locate a sparse set of points defining a facial shape in a video sequence. These typically include the mouth, the eyes, the contour, or the nose tip. The state of the art method for Face Tracking builds on Cascaded Regression, in which a set of linear regressors are used in a cascaded fashion, each receiving as input the output of the previous one, subsequently reducing the error with respect to the target locations.
Despite its impressive results, Cascaded Regression suffers from several drawbacks, which are basically caused by the theoretical and practical implications of using Linear Regression. Under the context of Face Alignment, Linear Regression is used to predict shape displacements from image features through a linear mapping. This linear mapping is learnt through the typical leastsquares problem, in which a set of random perturbations is given. This means that, each time a new regressor is to be trained, Cascaded Regression needs to generate perturbations and apply the sampling again. Moreover, existing solutions are not capable of incorporating incremental learning in real time. It is wellknown that personspecific models perform better than generic ones, and thus the possibility of personalising generic models whilst tracking is ongoing is a desired property, yet to be addressed.
This thesis proposes Continuous Regression, a Functional Regression solution to the leastsquares problem, resulting in the first realtime incremental face tracker. Briefly speaking, Continuous Regression approximates the samples by an estimation based on a firstorder Taylor expansion yielding a closedform solution for the infinite set of shape displacements. This way, it is possible to model the space of shape displacements as a continuum, without the need of using complex bases. Further, this thesis introduces a novel measure that allows Continuous Regression to be extended to spaces of correlated variables. This novel solution is incorporated into the Cascaded Regression framework, and its computational benefits for training under different configurations are shown. Then, it presents an approach for incremental learning within Cascaded Regression, and shows its complexity allows for realtime implementation. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first incremental face tracker that is shown to operate in realtime. The tracker is tested in an extensive benchmark, attaining state of the art results, thanks to the incremental learning capabilities.
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