Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Sen-Ching Samson Cheung


Background subtraction is the algorithmic process that segments out the region of interest often known as foreground from the background. Extensive literature and numerous algorithms exist in this domain, but most research have focused on videos captured by static cameras. The proliferation of portable platforms equipped with cameras has resulted in a large amount of video data being generated from moving cameras. This motivates the need for foundational algorithms for foreground/background segmentation in videos from moving cameras. In this dissertation, I propose three new types of background subtraction algorithms for moving cameras based on appearance, motion, and a combination of them. Comprehensive evaluation of the proposed approaches on publicly available test sequences show superiority of our system over state-of-the-art algorithms.

The first method is an appearance-based global modeling of foreground and background. Features are extracted by sliding a fixed size window over the entire image without any spatial constraint to accommodate arbitrary camera movements. Supervised learning method is then used to build foreground and background models. This method is suitable for limited scene scenarios such as Pan-Tilt-Zoom surveillance cameras. The second method relies on motion. It comprises of an innovative background motion approximation mechanism followed by spatial regulation through a Mega-Pixel denoising process. This work does not need to maintain any costly appearance models and is therefore appropriate for resource constraint ego-vision systems. The proposed segmentation combined with skin cues is validated by a novel application on authenticating hand-gestured signature captured by wearable cameras. The third method combines both motion and appearance. Foreground probabilities are jointly estimated by motion and appearance. After the mega-pixel denoising process, the probability estimates and gradient image are combined by Graph-Cut to produce the segmentation mask. This method is universal as it can handle all types of moving cameras.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)