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      Using Colour for Image Indexing

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      Challenge of Image Retrieval (CIR)

      Image Retrieval

      5 February 1998

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          Image colour is often thought to be an intrinsic correlate of surface reflectance and so is a common feature for image indexing. In this paper we point out that image colour is actually a function of surface reflectance and imaging geometry and the colour of the viewing illuminant. Fortunately methods exist for normalizing away these dependencies. Pixel based and colour channel-based normalizations remove dependency on geometry and light colour respectively. Unfortunately, neither method removes both dependencies simultaneously and so a single normalization must be chosen. Common practice dictates that pixel-based normalization is the most useful.

          In this paper we set out to evaluate the merits or demerits of this common practice. In particular, we asked ‘which works better, pixel based or channel based normalizations?’. To answer this question we carried our many image indexing experiments on a variety of image databases. In all cases, and contrary to common practice, our results indicate that channel normalization facilitates the best indexing performance. We predict that channel based normalization may improve indexing performance for many image indexing applications.

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          Author and article information

          February 1998
          February 1998
          : 1-7
          The Colour & Imaging Institute, The University of Derby

          Derby, United kingdom
          The Media Lab, Massachussettes Institute of Technology

          Cambridge, USA
          INRIA Rhônes Alpes

          Grenoble, France
          © Graham D. Finlayson et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Challenge of Image Retrieval, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

          Challenge of Image Retrieval
          University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK
          5 February 1998
          Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
          Image Retrieval
          Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
          Self URI (journal page):
          Electronic Workshops in Computing


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