Characterness: An Indicator of Text in the Wild

25 Sep 2013  ·  Yao Li, Wenjing Jia, Chunhua Shen, Anton Van Den Hengel ·

Text in an image provides vital information for interpreting its contents, and text in a scene can aide with a variety of tasks from navigation, to obstacle avoidance, and odometry. Despite its value, however, identifying general text in images remains a challenging research problem. Motivated by the need to consider the widely varying forms of natural text, we propose a bottom-up approach to the problem which reflects the `characterness' of an image region. In this sense our approach mirrors the move from saliency detection methods to measures of `objectness'. In order to measure the characterness we develop three novel cues that are tailored for character detection, and a Bayesian method for their integration. Because text is made up of sets of characters, we then design a Markov random field (MRF) model so as to exploit the inherent dependencies between characters. We experimentally demonstrate the effectiveness of our characterness cues as well as the advantage of Bayesian multi-cue integration. The proposed text detector outperforms state-of-the-art methods on a few benchmark scene text detection datasets. We also show that our measurement of `characterness' is superior than state-of-the-art saliency detection models when applied to the same task.

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