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One of the key challenges for current face recognition techniques is how to handle pose variations between the probe and gallery face images. In this paper, we present a method for reconstructing the virtual frontal view from a given nonfrontal face image using Markov random fields (MRFs) and an efficient variant of the belief propagation algorithm. In the proposed approach, the input face image is divided into a grid of overlapping patches, and a globally optimal set of local warps is estimated to synthesize the patches at the frontal view. A set of possible warps for each patch is obtained by aligning it with images from a training database of frontal faces. The alignments are performed efficiently in the Fourier domain using an extension of the Lucas-Kanade algorithm that can handle illumination variations. The problem of finding the optimal warps is then formulated as a discrete labeling problem using an MRF. The reconstructed frontal face image can then be used with any face recognition technique. The two main advantages of our method are that it does not require manually selected facial landmarks or head pose estimation. In order to improve the performance of our pose normalization method in face recognition, we also present an algorithm for classifying whether a given face image is at a frontal or nonfrontal pose. Experimental results on different datasets are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.
Date of Publication: April 2013