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Hierarchical morphological segmentation for image sequence coding

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2 Author(s)
Salembier, P. ; Dept. de Teoria del Senyal i Comunicacions, Univ. Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain ; Pardas, M.

This paper deals with a hierarchical morphological segmentation algorithm for image sequence coding. Mathematical morphology is very attractive for this purpose because it efficiently deals with geometrical features such as size, shape, contrast, or connectivity that can be considered as segmentation-oriented features. The algorithm follows a top-down procedure. It first takes into account the global information and produces a coarse segmentation, that is, with a small number of regions. Then, the segmentation quality is improved by introducing regions corresponding to more local information. The algorithm, considering sequences as being functions on a 3-D space, directly segments 3-D regions. A 3-D approach is used to get a segmentation that is stable in time and to directly solve the region correspondence problem. Each segmentation stage relies on four basic steps: simplification, marker extraction, decision, and quality estimation. The simplification removes information from the sequence to make it easier to segment. Morphological filters based on partial reconstruction are proven to be very efficient for this purpose, especially in the case of sequences. The marker extraction identifies the presence of homogeneous 3-D regions. It is based on constrained flat region labeling and morphological contrast extraction. The goal of the decision is to precisely locate the contours of regions detected by the marker extraction. This decision is performed by a modified watershed algorithm. Finally, the quality estimation concentrates on the coding residue, all the information about the 3-D regions that have not been properly segmented and therefore coded. The procedure allows the introduction of the texture and contour coding schemes within the segmentation algorithm. The coding residue is transmitted to the next segmentation stage to improve the segmentation and coding quality. Finally, segmentation and coding examples are presented to show the validity and interest of the coding approach

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Image Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 5 )