Age estimation using a hierarchical classifier based on global and local facial features

Sung Eun Choi, Youn Joo Lee, Sung Joo Lee, Kang Ryoung Park, Jaihie Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Citations (Scopus)


The research related to age estimation using face images has become increasingly important, due to the fact it has a variety of potentially useful applications. An age estimation system is generally composed of aging feature extraction and feature classification; both of which are important in order to improve the performance. For the aging feature extraction, the hybrid features, which are a combination of global and local features, have received a great deal of attention, because this method can compensate for defects found in individual global and local features. As for feature classification, the hierarchical classifier, which is composed of an age group classification (e.g. the class of less than 20 years old, the class of 2039 years old, etc.) and a detailed age estimation (e.g. 17, 23 years old, etc.), provide a much better performance than other methods. However, both the hybrid features and hierarchical classifier methods have only been studied independently and no research combining them has yet been conducted in the previous works. Consequently, we propose a new age estimation method using a hierarchical classifier method based on both global and local facial features. Our research is novel in the following three ways, compared to the previous works. Firstly, age estimation accuracy is greatly improved through a combination of the proposed hybrid features and the hierarchical classifier. Secondly, new local feature extraction methods are proposed in order to improve the performance of the hybrid features. The wrinkle feature is extracted using a set of region specific Gabor filters, each of which is designed based on the regional direction of the wrinkles, and the skin feature is extracted using a local binary pattern (LBP), capable of extracting the detailed textures of skin. Thirdly, the improved hierarchical classifier is based on a support vector machine (SVM) and a support vector regression (SVR). To reduce the error propagation of the hierarchical classifier, each age group classifier is designed so that the age range to be estimated is overlapped by consideration of false acceptance error (FAE) and false rejection error (FRE) of each classifier. The experimental results showed that the performance of the proposed method was superior to that of the previous methods when using the BERC, PAL and FG-Net aging databases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1281
Number of pages20
JournalPattern Recognition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) through the Biometrics Engineering Research Center (BERC) at the Yonsei University ( R112002105070030(2010) ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence


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