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1

Sonya Coleman, 1Bryan Gardiner, 2Bryan Scotney

1

School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, University of Ulster, Magee, BT48 7JL, Northern Ireland

2

School of Computing and Information Engineering, University of Ulster, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland

We present a general approach to the computation of developed specifically for use on hexagonal image

adaptive tri-directional operators for use on hexagonal pixel- structures, e.g. [2], and in particular, the spiral architecture

based images, based on the spiral architecture. We show that has not been used as the developmental structure for

the use of Gaussian basis functions within the finite element processing operators.

method provides a framework for a systematic design In this paper we present a design procedure for the

procedure for operators that are adaptive to spiral development of hexagonal tri-directional derivative

neighbourhoods through the use of an explicit scale operators, based on the spiral architecture, that can be

parameter. We evaluate the proposed operators using applied directly to hexagonal images. The structure of each

simulated hexagonal images and provide comparative results spiral operator corresponds to a layer ( O ) in the spiral

with the use of traditional rectangular operators. architecture, and therefore each spiral operator contains 7 O

point values. We show that only one operator (x-directional

Index Terms—hexagonal images, spiral architecture derivative) needs to be computed, and the other two

directional operators can then be obtained via appropriate

1. INTRODUCTION rotation.

Traditionally, images are captured and displayed using

rectangular pixels, and several algorithms have been 2. IMAGE REPRESENTATION

developed for processing such images. Recently there has We represent the hexagonal image by a spiral array of

been an increased interest in using hexagonal pixels for samples of a continuous function u of image intensity on a

image representation for many reasons, including their domain : . Figure 1 represents part of a hexagonal image

ability to represent curved structures better than the tradition with nodes placed in the centre of each hexagonal pixel.

use of square pixels. Additional advantages of the hexagonal These nodes are the reference points for the development of

image structure include both spatial and spectral advantages: tri-directional derivative operators using an element based

equidistance of all pixel neighbours and improved spatial method. Interconnecting pixel nodes produces edges that

isotropy of spectral response. Pixel spatial equidistance form triangular elements, i.e. finite elements. This creates a

facilitates the implementation of circular symmetric kernels mesh of equilateral triangular elements that overlays the

that is associated with an increase in accuracy when image domain, as illustrated in Figure 1.

detecting edges, both straight and curved [1, 7]. In addition, z y

recent work has highlighted the advantages of omni-

directional feature extraction [3], and in particular, Paplinski

[6] has introduced tri-directional feature extraction on

traditional rectangular pixel-based images. The use of a

hexagonal image structure naturally facilitates tri-directional

feature extraction by introducing three natural axes along x

which directional derivative operators may be computed.

In [9], Sheridan introduced a unique addressing system,

known as the spiral architecture, that addresses each

hexagonal pixel with a single co-ordinate address, rather

than the two co-ordinate address scheme typically used with

rectangular image structures. The introduction of this single

addressing scheme makes the spiral architecture an Figure 1: Spiral image representation

appropriate structure for real-time image processing of As a hexagonal image can currently only be obtained by

hexagonal images. Using spiral addressing, spiral addition resampling a standard rectangular pixel-based image, the re-

and spiral multiplication, methods have been created for sampling technique used in this paper is a combination of

image processing operations such as translation and rotation the approaches in [5, 13]. As in [5], we initially represent

each original rectangular pixel by a 7x7 sub-pixel block. I i is thus a "tent-shaped" function with support restricted to

Then, following [11], we cluster the sub-pixels to form a small spiral neighbourhood centred on node i consisting of

hexagonal pixels throughout the image. only those elements that have node i as a vertex. We then

may approximately represent the image u over a spiral

3. TRI-DIRECTIONAL OPERATORS

neighbourhood : iO by a function

In recent work [2], we have shown how a finite element

based approach can be used to create adaptive hexagonal U ¦U I i i (2)

operators based on the construction of two independent

directional derivative operators aligned in the x- and y- in which the parameters ^U ` j are the sampled image

directions using simple nearest neighbour scaling. Here we intensity values. In this paper the spiral neighbourhood

present tri-directional operators, i.e. three hexagonal structure follows the structure of the spiral architecture, and

operators that are aligned along the x-, y- and z- hexagonal hence the Layer 1 and Layer 2 operators have the 7-point

axes and the operator neighbourhood structure is based on and 49-point structures as illustrated in Figure 3.

the spiral architecture. The tri-directional operators can be Layer 2

easily developed as only one operator needs to be computed: 22 23

rotated by 60 $ and 120 $ to obtain the y- and z- directional 11 10 14 26 25 32 33

possible when we construct Cartesian based operators on the 62 63 1 0 4 36 35

hexagonal image structure. Redundancy exists between the

61 60 64 6 5 42 43

three operator masks of a tri-directional operator, allowing,

for example, the x-directional operator mask to be computed 66 65 52 53 41 40 44

Figure 3: Layer 1 and Layer 2 of the Spiral Architecture

facilitates the implementation of Cartesian axes operators if 1 2

required by appropriate combination of the tri-directional corresponding to spiral operator neighbourhoods : i and : i

masks. It should be noted that, although the hexagonal respectively

structure naturally contains three axes, we only ever use two As we are only concerned initially with the development of

axes in the co-ordinate system in order to ensure a unique a x-directional derivative operator, a weak form of the first

representation. Hence, we have chosen to work with the x- order x-directional derivative is obtained by considering

and y- axes, providing a co-ordinate system as shown in only the x derivative term, multiplying it by a test function

Figure 2. v H 1 , and integrating on the spiral image domain : iO to

y

1 , 1 0 ,1 give

wu

³ wx vd: i

O

E (u ) (3)

e2 : iO

1,0 i 0 ,0 1,0 x S h H 1 is used for function approximation. Our design

procedure incorporates a finite-dimensional test space

e4 e6 TVh H 1 that explicitly embodies the parameter V , related

e5 to the Layer O , enabling the development of adaptive

derivative operators. Hence, we use a test function \ iO that

0 ,1 1,1

is restricted to have support over the spiral operator

Figure 2: Two axes hexagonal co-ordinate system

neighbourhood : iO . The test function is then used in the

4. OPERATOR DESIGN weak form of the first derivative operator providing the

For the derivation of the primary operator, the x-directional functional

operator, with any node i we associate a piecewise linear wu

E iO (U ) ³ wx \

O

i d: iO (4)

basis function I i which has the properties :i O

Ii ® (1) spiral operator, consider the Level 1 spiral structure in

¯0 at node j z i

Figure 3. Here the spiral neighbourhood covers a set of 6

1962

triangular elements ^e m ` , (as illustrated in Figure 2), where Layer 1 and Layer 2 hexagonal spiral neighbourhood

operators (see Figure 3), which are approximately equivalent

a test function \ iO is associated with the central node i and

in size to the 3x3 and 7x7 conventional rectangular

shares common support with the six neighbouring basis operators respectively. Therefore, the two hexagonal

functions I i . Hence E iO (U ) can be computed over the six operator sizes will be denoted as S1 and S 2 throughout the

elements in the spiral neighbourhood : iO by substituting the remainder of this paper.

image representation (equation (2)) into the functional

5. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

E iO (U ) , which yields For performance evaluation, we create hexagonal pixel-

N based images, as described in Section 2 and compare the

E iO (U ) ¦ K OU ij i (5) Layer 1 and Layer 2 operators from our proposed approach

i 1

with the traditional derivative operators [8] applied directly

where

to standard square-based images (denoted as Sq3 and Sq7,

K ijO ¦k m ,O

ij (6) respectively).

m | e m : iO S2 Sq7 S1 Sq3

1

m ,O

and k ij is the element integral

wI j 0.8

kijm , O ³ wx

\ iO d :iO (7)

0.6

FOM

O

The test functions \ i used in this operator design are a set

of Gaussian basis functions \ iO , i 1,..., N , of the form

0.4

§

¨ x xi

2 1

y y i 2 z z i 2 ·¸ (8) 0.2

¨ 3 ¸

¨ ¸

¨ 2V 2 ¸

1 ¨ ¸

\ iO e © ¹ 0

1 5 10 20 50 100 No Noise

2SV 2

SNR

As k ijm , O involves a Gaussian function, numerical integration (a) 45$ Oriented edge

is used to approximate the operator integral. On completion S2 Sq7 S1 Sq3

1

of the integration, the primary x-directional spiral operator,

equation (9), is constructed by finite element assembly to

0.8

compute the gradient operator along the x-directional axis.

This spiral operator is denoted by S1x , with co-efficient 0.6

values of a and b being 0.144 and 0.288 respectively.

FOM

ª a a º 0.4

x « »

S1 « b 0 b» (9)

«¬ a a »¼ 0.2

0

anti-clockwise by 60 $ and 120 $ , the y- and z- directional 1 5 10 20 50 100 No Noise

SNR

operators can be readily obtained respectively as (b) Horizontal edge

ª a b º ª b a º Figure 4. Figure of Merit results comparing the tri-directional spiral

« » « »

S1 y a 0 a S1 z « a 0 a » (10) operators with equivalent standard use of square operators

« »

«¬ b a »¼ «¬ a b »¼ In order to accurately measure the performance of the spiral

When calculating the gradient response for tri-directional gradient operators, we have modified the well-known Figure

derivative operators, redundancy is introduced due to the of Merit technique to accommodate the use of hexagonal

relationships by rotation between the three operators. pixel-based images. Figure 4 shows that the proposed S1

Therefore, by directly using only operators S x and S y , the tri-directional spiral operator has increased accuracy over

gradient magnitude equation [10] for tri-directional the equivalent square 3u 3 operator (Sq3) in all evaluated

operators is represented as edge directions, and S 2 has similar performance to Sq7,

2 with the greatest improvement seen in the case of very high

G ( S x ) 2 ( S y ) 2 S x .S y ) (11) noise levels. Further visual comparison of the tri-directional

3

adaptive operators is presented in Figure 5, where we show

In this paper, two operator sizes are illustrated, namely the the Lena image, both the original and the re-sampled

1963

6. CONCLUSION

We have presented a design procedure for first order tri-

directional derivative operators, developed for use on

hexagonal images. Here, the operator structure is based on

the spiral architecture, where each operator size corresponds

to a layer in the spiral architecture. The development of the

tri-directional operator is presented with only one operator

mask needing to be calculated, and the remaining two masks

found by 600 and 1200 anti-clockwise rotation. Although it

appears at first that the operator structure presented offers

(a) Spiral image (b) Original image only coarse scale processing, fine scale processing can be

readily obtained via the use of the virtual spiral architecture

[12] that works at sub-pixel level.

Using the Figure of Merit, we present performance

evaluation for our operator framework and we present visual

comparison of operator output responses. The performance

evaluation and visual output combined with the fact that a

hexagonal pixel image representation contains 13.5% less

pixels than the equivalent rectangular pixel image

representation [5], makes hexagonal pixel based images

promising for real-time imaging.

(c) S1 (d) Sq3

7. REFERENCES

[1] Allen, J. D., “Filter Banks for Images on Hexagonal

Grid”, Signal Solutions, 2003

[2] Gardiner, B., Coleman, S.A., Scotney, B.W., "Fast

Multiscale Operator Development For Hexagonal

Images" Proc. DAGM 2009, Jena, Springer, LNCS

5748, pp282-291, 2009

[3] Ghiasi, S. & Safabakhsh, R., “Omnidirectional Edge

Detection” Computer Vision and Image Understanding,

Elsevier, Vol. 113, pp. 556-564, 2009

[4] He, X., et al., “An Approach to Edge Detection on a

Virtual Hexagonal Structure” Digital Image Computing

(e) S 2 (f) Sq7 Techniques and Applications, pp. 340-345, 2007

Figure 5: Edge maps corresponding to each of the operators [5] Middleton, L. and Sivaswamy, J., “Hexagonal Image

Processing; A Practical Approach”, Springer 2005

hexagonal pixel image, and we provide edge maps for each [6] Paplinski, A.P., “Directional Filtering in Edge

of the operators used in the Figure of Merit evaluation. Detection”, IEEE transactions on Image Processing,

Figure 5 illustrates that the operators have comparable visual 7(4), April 1998

[7] Scotney, B. W. & Coleman, S. A. “Improving Angular

outputs. It should be noted that the resampling technique error via Systematically Designed Near-circular

chosen to generate Figure 5(a) may alter the edge detection Gaussian-based Feature Extraction Operators”, Pattern

results. Table 1 shows Figure of Merit results comparing a Recognition, Vol. 40, pp. 1451-1465, 2007

number of existing resampling techniques based on the [8] Scotney, B.W., Coleman, S.A. & Herron, M.G. (2002).

detection of an oriented edge. The four techniques are Half “Device Space Design for Efficient Scale-Space Edge

Detection.” Proc ICCS, LNCS, pp.1077-1086, 2002

Pixel Shift (HPS) [4], Imitative Hexagonal Structure (IH) [9] Sheridan, P., Spiral Architecture for Machine Vision,

[5], 30 Pseudo Hexagonal Pixel (30SPP) [11] and the 56 Ph.D. Thesis, University of Technology, Sydney, 1996

Table I. Figure of Merit results for on an oriented ramp edge [10] Staunton, R.C., “The Design of Hexagonal Sampling

SNR=10 SNR=20 SNR=50 SNR=100 No noise

Structures for Image Digitisation and Their Use with

30SPP 0.96775 0.97605 0.99116 0.99834 1

Local Operators,” Image Vision Computing, Vol. 7, No.

56SPP 0.97075 0.97975 0.99141 0.99780 1

3. pp 162-166, Aug 1989

HPS 0.95863 0.96680 0.97371 0.97530 0.97046

[11] Wu Q, et al., “Virtual Spiral Architecture,”Conf Parallel

IH 0.89880 0.93466 0.97135 0.98499 1

and Dist. Processing Tech and Apps, pp. 339-405, 2004

[12] Wu, Q., et al., “Bi-lateral Filtering Based Edge

Pseudo Hexagonal Pixel (56SPP) [12]. In the results, highest Detection on Hexagonal Architecture,” Proc IEEE Int

values are bold font and the lowest values are italics. The 56 Conf Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, pp.

713- 716, 2005

Pseudo Hexagonal Pixel technique performs best when [13] Wuthrich, C.A, Stucki, P. “An Algorithmic Comparison

detecting an oriented edge, therefore used as the resampling Between Square & Hexagonal based Grid”, CVGIP:

technique to generate hexagonal images in this paper. Vol. 53, pp. 324-339, 1999

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