Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Farag, Aly A.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Starr, Thomas L.

Committee Member

Naber, John F.

Committee Member

Sahoo, Prasanna K.

Committee Member

Inanc, Tamer

Committee Member

Elmelegy, Moumen A.

Author's Keywords

Computer vision; Pattern recognition; Machine learning; Shape modeling; Image processing; Facial recognition


Computer vision; Pattern recognition systems


One of the major goals of computer vision is the development of flexible and efficient methods for shape representation. This is true, especially for non-rigid 3D shapes where a great variety of shapes are produced as a result of deformations of a non-rigid object. Modeling these non-rigid shapes is a very challenging problem. Being able to analyze the properties of such shapes and describe their behavior is the key issue in research. Also, considering photometric features can play an important role in many shape analysis applications, such as shape matching and correspondence because it contains rich information about the visual appearance of real objects. This new information (contained in photometric features) and its important applications add another, new dimension to the problem's difficulty. Two main approaches have been adopted in the literature for shape modeling for the matching and retrieval problem, local and global approaches. Local matching is performed between sparse points or regions of the shape, while the global shape approaches similarity is measured among entire models. These methods have an underlying assumption that shapes are rigidly transformed. And Most descriptors proposed so far are confined to shape, that is, they analyze only geometric and/or topological properties of 3D models. A shape descriptor or model should be isometry invariant, scale invariant, be able to capture the fine details of the shape, computationally efficient, and have many other good properties. A shape descriptor or model is needed. This shape descriptor should be: able to deal with the non-rigid shape deformation, able to handle the scale variation problem with less sensitivity to noise, able to match shapes related to the same class even if these shapes have missing parts, and able to encode both the photometric, and geometric information in one descriptor. This dissertation will address the problem of 3D non-rigid shape representation and textured 3D non-rigid shapes based on local features. Two approaches will be proposed for non-rigid shape matching and retrieval based on Heat Kernel (HK), and Scale-Invariant Heat Kernel (SI-HK) and one approach for modeling textured 3D non-rigid shapes based on scale-invariant Weighted Heat Kernel Signature (WHKS). For the first approach, the Laplace-Beltrami eigenfunctions is used to detect a small number of critical points on the shape surface. Then a shape descriptor is formed based on the heat kernels at the detected critical points for different scales. Sparse representation is used to reduce the dimensionality of the calculated descriptor. The proposed descriptor is used for classification via the Collaborative Representation-based Classification with a Regularized Least Square (CRC-RLS) algorithm. The experimental results have shown that the proposed descriptor can achieve state-of-the-art results on two benchmark data sets. For the second approach, an improved method to introduce scale-invariance has been also proposed to avoid noise-sensitive operations in the original transformation method. Then a new 3D shape descriptor is formed based on the histograms of the scale-invariant HK for a number of critical points on the shape at different time scales. A Collaborative Classification (CC) scheme is then employed for object classification. The experimental results have shown that the proposed descriptor can achieve high performance on the two benchmark data sets. An important observation from the experiments is that the proposed approach is more able to handle data under several distortion scenarios (noise, shot-noise, scale, and under missing parts) than the well-known approaches. For modeling textured 3D non-rigid shapes, this dissertation introduces, for the first time, a mathematical framework for the diffusion geometry on textured shapes. This dissertation presents an approach for shape matching and retrieval based on a weighted heat kernel signature. It shows how to include photometric information as a weight over the shape manifold, and it also propose a novel formulation for heat diffusion over weighted manifolds. Then this dissertation presents a new discretization method for the weighted heat kernel induced by the linear FEM weights. Finally, the weighted heat kernel signature is used as a shape descriptor. The proposed descriptor encodes both the photometric, and geometric information based on the solution of one equation. Finally, this dissertation proposes an approach for 3D face recognition based on the front contours of heat propagation over the face surface. The front contours are extracted automatically as heat is propagating starting from a detected set of landmarks. The propagation contours are used to successfully discriminate the various faces. The proposed approach is evaluated on the largest publicly available database of 3D facial images and successfully compared to the state-of-the-art approaches in the literature. This work can be extended to the problem of dense correspondence between non-rigid shapes. The proposed approaches with the properties of the Laplace-Beltrami eigenfunction can be utilized for 3D mesh segmentation. Another possible application of the proposed approach is the view point selection for 3D objects by selecting the most informative views that collectively provide the most descriptive presentation of the surface.