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Tattoo Recognition Technology - Best Practices (Tatt-BP): Guidelines for Tattoo Image Collection



Mei L. Ngan, George W. Quinn, Patrick J. Grother


This document, along with a supplementary poster and a set of instructional slides, provides best practice guidelines for the collection of good quality tattoo images. As an outcome of the Tatt-C 2015 activity, algorithm failure to correctly match a tattoo is often related to the consistency and quality of image capture. Notably, inconsistencies in image angle, orientation, size of the tattoo relative to the entire image and poor collection characteristics such as poor illumination, low contrast, blur, and the existence of clothing and background clutter caused failures for tattoo detection and matching algorithms. While some problems can potentially be rectified via post-capture image processing, which imposes additional human labor, certain properties cannot be recovered after the photograph is taken. As such, certain guidelines should be followed to ensure good quality images are collected.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8109
Report Number


tattoo, tattoo recognition


Ngan, M. , Quinn, G. and Grother, P. (2016), Tattoo Recognition Technology - Best Practices (Tatt-BP): Guidelines for Tattoo Image Collection, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 18, 2024)


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Created February 25, 2016, Updated November 10, 2018