Face detection in color images

Rein Lien Hsu, Mohamed Abdel-Mottaleb, Anil K. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1510 Scopus citations


Human face detection plays an important role in applications such as video surveillance, human computer interface, face recognition, and face image database management. We propose a face detection algorithm for color images in the presence of varying lighting conditions as well as complex backgrounds. Based on a novel lighting compensation technique and a nonlinear color transformation, our method detects skin regions over the entire image and then generates face candidates based on the spatial arrangement of these skin patches. The algorithm constructs eye, mouth, and boundary maps for verifying each face candidate. Experimental results demonstrate successful face detection over a wide range of facial variations in color, position, scale, orientation, 3D pose, and expression in images from several photo collections (both indoors and outdoors).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-706
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002


  • Color transformation
  • Face detection
  • Face recognition
  • Facial feature map
  • Hough transform
  • Lighting compensation
  • Skin tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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