There have been much interest and a large amount of research on content based image retrieval (CBIR) in recent years due to the ever increasing number of digital images. Texture features play a key role in CBIR. Many texture features exist in literature, however, most of them are neither rotation invariant nor robust to scale and other variations. Texture features based on Gabor filters have been shown with significant advantages over other methods, and they are adopted by MPEG-7 as one of the texture descriptors for image retrieval. In this paper, we propose a rotation invariant curvelet features for texture representation. With systematic analysis and rigorous experiments, we show that the proposed curvelet texture features significantly outperforms the widely used Gabor texture features. A novel region padding method is also proposed to apply curvelet transform to region based image retrieval. Retrieval results from standard image databases show that curvelet features are promising for both texture and region representation.
Effective texture feature is an essential component in any content based image retrieval system. In the past, spectral features, like Gabor and wavelet, have shown superior retrieval performance than many other statistical and structural based features. Recent researches on multi-resolution analysis have found that curvelet captures texture properties, like curves, lines, and edges, more accurately than Gabor filters. However, the texture feature extracted using curvelet transform is not rotation invariant. This can degrade its retrieval performance significantly, especially in cases where there are many similar images with different orientations. This paper analyses the curvelet transform and derives a useful approach to extract rotation invariant curvelet features. Experimental results show that the new rotation invariant curvelet feature outperforms the curvelet feature without rotation invariance.