On the Quantification of Visual Texture Complexity
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Complexity is one of the major attributes of the visual perception of texture. However, very little is known about how humans visually interpret texture complexity. A psychophysical experiment was conducted to visually quantify the seven texture attributes of a series of textile fabrics: complexity, color variation, randomness, strongness, regularity, repetitiveness, and homogeneity. It was found that the observers could discriminate between the textures with low and high complexity using some high-level visual cues such as randomness, color variation, strongness, etc. The results of principal component analysis (PCA) on the visual scores of the above attributes suggest that complexity and homogeneity could be essentially the underlying attributes of the same visual texture dimension, with complexity at the negative extreme and homogeneity at the positive extreme of this dimension. We chose to call this dimension visual texture complexity. Several texture measures including the first-order image statistics, co-occurrence matrix, local binary pattern, and Gabor features were computed for images of the textiles in sRGB, and four luminance-chrominance color spaces (i.e., HSV, YCbCr, Ohta’s I1I2I3, and CIELAB). The relationships between the visually quantified texture complexity of the textiles and the corresponding texture measures of the images were investigated. Analyzing the relationships showed that simple standard deviation of the image luminance channel had a strong correlation with the corresponding visual ratings of texture complexity in all five color spaces. Standard deviation of the energy of the image after convolving with an appropriate Gabor filter and entropy of the co-occurrence matrix, both computed for the image luminance channel, also showed high correlations with the visual data. In this comparison, sRGB, YCbCr, and HSV always outperformed the I1I2I3 and CIELAB color spaces. The highest correlations between the visual data and the corresponding image texture features in the luminance-chrominance color spaces were always obtained for the luminance channel of the images, and one of the two chrominance channels always performed better than the other. This result indicates that the arrangement of the image texture elements that impacts the observer’s perception of visual texture complexity cannot be represented properly by the chrominance channels. This must be carefully considered when choosing an image channel to quantify the visual texture complexity. Additionally, the good performance of the luminance channel in the five studied color spaces proves that variations in the luminance of the texture, or as one could call the luminance contrast, plays a crucial role in creating visual texture complexity.