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When High-Quality Face Images Match Poorly



J. R. Beveridge, P. Jonathon Phillips, Geof H. Givens, Bruce A. Draper, Mohammad N. Teli, David Bolme


In face recognition, quality is typically thought of as a property of individual images, not image pairs. The implicit assumption is that high-quality images should be easy to match to each other, while low quality images should be hard to match. This paper presents a relational graph-based evaluation technique that uses match scores produced by face recognition algorithms to determine the quality of images. The resulting analysis demonstrates that only a small fraction of the images in a well-studied data set (FRVT 2006) are low-quality images. It is much more common to find relationships in which two images that are hard to match to each other can be easily matched with other images of the same person. In other words, these images are simultaneously both high and low quality. The existence of such contrary images represents a fundamental challenge for approaches to biometric quality that cast quality as an intrinsicv property of a single image. Instead it indicates that quality should be associated with pairs of images. In exploring these contrary images, we find a surprising dependence on whether elements of an image pair are acquired at the same location, even in circumstances where one would be tempted to think of the locations as interchangeable. The results presented have important implications for anyone designing face recognition evaluations as well as those developing new algorithms.
Proceedings Title
The Ninth IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition (FG 2011)
Conference Dates
March 21-25, 2011
Conference Location
Santa Barbara, CA, US


Beveridge, J. , Phillips, P. , Givens, G. , Draper, B. , Teli, M. and Bolme, D. (2011), When High-Quality Face Images Match Poorly, The Ninth IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition (FG 2011) , Santa Barbara, CA, US, [online], (Accessed July 19, 2024)


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Created March 8, 2011, Updated October 14, 2021