Locating nose-tips and estimating head poses in images by Tensorposes

Jilin Tu, Yun Fu, Thomas S. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper introduces a head pose estimation system that automatically localizes the nose-tips of the faces and estimates head poses in images simultaneously. In the training stage, the nose-tips of the faces are first manually labeled. The appearance variations caused by head pose changes are then characterized by a Tensorposes model. Given an image with unknown head pose and nose-tip location, the nose-tip of the face is automatically localized in a coarse-to-fine fashion after the skin color segmentation. The head pose is also estimated simultaneously. The performance of our system is evaluated on the Pointing'04 head pose image data set. We first evaluate the classification performance of the Tensorposes models with image patches of the faces cropped according to the manually labeled nose-tip locations of the faces in the Pointing '04 data set. By leaving-one-person-out evaluation strategy, we obtain the optimal parameters of the Tensorposes model, and evaluate the discriminative power of the Tensorposes model built based on high order singular value decomposition (HOSVD) and multilinear independent component analysis (MICA), and naive principal component analysis (PCA) subspace models. It is shown Tensorposes model by HOSVD and MICA decomposition performs similarly good but much better than naive PCA subspace models. The Tensorposes model is then utilized to automatically localize nose-tip location in the testing image and to simultaneously estimate the head pose. The nose-tip localization and pose estimation accuracy of the proposed system are evaluated against the ground truth. Finally, cross-database evaluation of the performance of our system is carried out on Pointing'04 database, a selected subset of CMU PIE database, and some pictures from CLEAR'07 head pose evaluation database. The experiments show that our system generalizes reasonably well to the real-world scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4630756
Pages (from-to)90-102
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Face image
  • Head pose estimation
  • Nose-tip
  • Pointing'04
  • Tensorposes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Media Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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