3D face authentication and recognition based on bilateral symmetry analysis

Liyan Zhang, Anshuman Razdan, Gerald Farin, John Femiani, Myungsoo Bae, Charles Lockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


We present a novel and computationally fast method for automatic human face authentication. Taking a 3D triangular facial mesh as input, the approach first automatically extracts the bilateral symmetry plane of the facial surface. The intersection between the symmetry plane and the facial surface, namely the symmetry profile, is then computed. Using both the mean curvature plot of the facial surface and the curvature plot of the symmetry profile curve, three essential points of the nose on the symmetry profile are automatically extracted. The three essential points uniquely determine a Face Intrinsic Coordinate System (FICS). Different faces are aligned based on the FICS. The symmetry profile, together with two transverse profiles, composes a compact representation, called the SFC representation, of a 3D face surface. The face authentication and recognition steps are finally performed by comparing the SFC representations of the faces. The proposed method was tested on 382 face surfaces, which come from 166 individuals and cover a wide ethnic and age variety. The equal error rate (EER) of face authentication on scans with variable facial expressions is 10.8%. For scans with normal expression, the ERR is 0.8%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalVisual Computer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • 3D faces
  • Face authentication
  • Face recognition
  • Symmetry analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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