Color constancy in 3D-2D face recognition

Manuel Meyer, Christian Riess, Elli Angelopoulou, Georgios Evangelopoulos, Ioannis A. Kakadiaris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Face is one of the most popular biometric modalities. However, up to now, color is rarely actively used in face recognition. Yet, it is well-known that when a person recognizes a face, color cues can become as important as shape, especially when combined with the ability of people to identify the color of objects independent of illuminant color variations. In this paper, we examine the feasibility and effect of explicitly embedding illuminant color information in face recognition systems. We empirically examine the theoretical maximum gain of including known illuminant color to a 3D-2D face recognition system. We also investigate the impact of using computational color constancy methods for estimating the illuminant color, which is then incorporated into the face recognition framework. Our experiments show that under close-to-ideal illumination estimates, one can improve face recognition rates by 16%. When the illuminant color is algorithmically estimated, the improvement is approximately 5%. These results suggest that color constancy has a positive impact on face recognition, but the accuracy of the illuminant color estimate has a considerable effect on its benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiometric and Surveillance Technology for Human and Activity Identification X
StatePublished - 2013
EventBiometric and Surveillance Technology for Human and Activity Identification X - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: May 2 2013May 2 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceBiometric and Surveillance Technology for Human and Activity Identification X
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD


  • Color constancy
  • Face recognition
  • Illumination invariance
  • Illumination normalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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