Towards Realism in Facial Image Transformation: Results of a Wavelet MRF Method

Bernard Paul Tiddeman, M.R. Stirratt, David Ian Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to transform facial images between groups (e.g. from young to old, or from male to female) has applications in psychological research, police investigations, medicine and entertainment. Current techniques suffer either from a lack of realism due to unrealistic or inappropriate textures in the output images, or a lack of statistical validity, e.g. by using only a single example image for training. This paper describes a new method for improving the realism and effectiveness of facial transformations (e.g. ageing, feminising etc.) of individuals. The method aims to transform low resolution image data using the mean differences between the two groups, but converges on more specific texture features at the finer resolutions. We separate high and low resolution information by transforming the image into a wavelet domain. At each point we calculate a mapping from the original set to the target set based on the probability distributions of the input and output wavelet values. These distributions are estimated from the example images, using the assumption that the distribution depends on the values in a local neighbourhood of the point (the Markov Random Field (MRF) assumption). We use a causal neighbourhood that spans multiple coarser scales of the wavelet pyramid.. The distributions are estimated by smoothing the histogram of example values. By increasing the smoothing of the histograms at coarser resolutions we are able to maintain perceived identity across the transforms while producing realistic fine-scale textures. We use perceptual testing to validate the new method, and the results show that it can produce more accurate shifts in perceived age and an increase in realism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005




Dive into the research topics of 'Towards Realism in Facial Image Transformation: Results of a Wavelet MRF Method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this