Detecting object boundaries using low-, mid-, and high-level information


Object boundary detection and segmentation is a central problem in computer vision. The importance of combining low-level, mid-level, and high-level cues has been realized in recent literature. However, it is unclear how to efficiently and effectively engage and fuse different levels of information. In this paper, we emphasize a learning based approach to explore different levels of information, both implicitly and explicitly. First, we learn low-level cues for object boundaries and interior regions using a probabilistic boosting tree (PBT) [17, 6]. Second, we learn short and long range context information based on the results from the first stage. Both stages implicitly contain object-specific information such as texture and local geometry, and it is shown that this implicit knowledge is extremely powerful. Third, we use high-level shape information explicitly to further refine the object segmentation and to parse the object into components. The algorithm is trained and tested on a challenging dataset of horses [2], and the results obtained are very encouraging compared with other approaches. In detailed experiments we show significantly better performance (e.g. F-values of 0.75 compared to 0.66) than the best comparable reported performance on this dataset [14]. Furthermore, the system only needs 1.5 minutes for a typical image. Although our system is illustrated on horse images, the approach can be directly applied to detecting/segmenting other types of objects.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition