Open Journal of Applied Sciences, 2013, 3, 16-21
Published Online March 2013 (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJAppS
Speed-up Multi-modal Near Duplicate Image Detection
Chunlei Yang1,2, Jinye Peng2, Jianping Fan2
1CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Carmody Road, St. Lucia Queensland, Australia
2CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Highett, Australia
Email: {*Andrew.higgins, Leonie.pearson, Luis.laredo}
Received 2012
Near-duplicate image detection is a necessary operation to refine image search results for efficient user exploration. The
existences of large amounts of near duplicates require fast and accurate automatic near-duplicate detection methods. We
have designed a coarse-to-fine near duplicate detection framework to speed-up the process and a multi-modal integra-
tion scheme for accurate detection. The duplicate pairs are detected with both global feature (partition based color his-
togram) and local feature (CPAM and SIFT Bag-of-Word model). The experiment results on large scale data set proved
the effectiveness of the proposed design.
Keywords: Near-Duplicate Detection; Coarse-To-Fine Framework; Multi-Modal Feature Integration
1. Introduction
The existence of duplicate or near duplicate image pairs
is universally observed in text-based image search engine
return results (such as Google Image: the return results
for a certain query word) or personal photo collection
(such as Flickr or Picasa personal photo album: photos
that are consecutively taken at the same location with
slightly different shooting angle), as found in Figure 1.
The existence of large quantity of near duplicate image
pairs will cause big burden for any type of search engine
based image exploration or query operation. Considering
the scale of the search results, it is very difficult if not
impossible to identify such near duplicate images ma-
nually. Thus it is very important to develop efficient and
robust methods for detecting the near duplicate images
automatically from large-scale image collections [1-3].
It would be rather convenient for near duplication de-
tection tasks to utilize heterogeneous features like EXIF
data from photos [4], or time duration information in
video sequences [5]. In fact, such information is not
available for most of the data collections which forces us
to seek for solution from visual content of the images
only. Among content-based approaches, many focus on
the rapid identification of duplicate images with global
signatures, which are able to handle almost identical im-
age [6]. However, near duplicates with changes beyond
color, lighting and editing artifacts can only be reliably
detected through the use of more reliable local features
[7-10]. Local point based methods, such as SIFT de-
scriptor, have demonstrated impressive performance in a
wid e range of vision-related tasks, and are particularly
Figure 1. Left: Google Image search result for query “gol-
den gate bridge”; right: Flickr search results for the query
“Halloween”. Both observes a number of near duplications
for detecting near-duplicate images having complex var-
The potential for local approaches is unfortunately
underscored by matching and scalability issues as dis-
cussed above. Past experience has guided us to seek for
balance between efficiency and accuracy in near dupli-
cate detection tasks. In order to speed up the duplicate
detection process without sacrificing detection accuracy,
we have designed a two-stage detection scheme: the first
stage is to partition the image collection into multiple
groups by using computational cheap global features; the
second stage is to conduct image retrieval with computa-
tional expensive local features to extract the
near-duplicate pairs. The output of the first stage is sup-
posed to not separate any potential near duplicate pairs
and the number of images participated in the second
stage retrieval could be dramatically reduced. The visual
presentation of the image used in the second stage is
Bag-of-Word (BoW) model. We have conducted the in-
terest point extraction operation to all the available im-
ages and represent each interest point with SIFT descrip-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJAppS
tor. A universal code book is generated with k-means
clustering algorithm from millions of such interest point
descriptors. Each code word is a center of the k-means
clustering result. In actually implementation, we have
conducted hierarchical k-means to construct the code
book. With vector quantization operation, each interest
point in an image is mapped to a certain code word and
the image can be represented by the histogram of the
code words. For the purpose of interest point matching,
we only count the matches by the points that fall into the
same bin, thus the actual calculation of the histogram is
not required. Besides the SIFT Bag-of-Word model, we
also implement the CPAM (Color Pattern Appearance
Model) feature which is built from YCbCr color space and
quantized in a similar fashion as BoW model. We also
built a universal code book for the CPAM feature with
k-means clustering algorithm and each image is encoded
with vector quantization technique. Finally, the detection
result from both models will be combined together with
our multi-modal integration design.
2.Near Duplicate Detection
Traditional methods often require n2 pair -wise compari-
sons to detect duplicate image pairs in a group of n im-
ages. When we are dealing with large scale image set,
ofte n with n at a minimum of several hundred, the tradi-
tional methods could be very time consuming. An intui-
tive idea is to use computationally cheap image features
to conduct the comparison, meanwhile, we do not want
to sacrifice the statistical correctness to gain computation
speed up. As a trade-off, we conducted image clustering
Algorithm based on cheap visual features, such as global
features, which can roughly partition the group of images
without separating the duplicate pairs. Then the relatively
expensive local features can be used for near duplicate
detection on a pair-wise fashion within each cluster. An
illustration of the proposed coarse-to-fine structure is
shown in Figure 2.
We first clarify the difference between “duplicate” and
“near duplicate” images.
Duplicate: duplicate images are defined as image
pairs that are only different on scale, color scheme or
storage format .
Near Duplicate: By relaxing the above restriction, we
can define near duplicate images as duplicate pairs
further varied by contrast, luminance, rotation, trans-
lation, a slight change of the layout or background.
The relaxation of the restriction of the near duplicate
definition made the traditional Hash based method,
which has been successfully applied for copy detection
inapplicable. Considering computation efficiency and
detection accuracy, a coarse-to-fine model was designed
by integrating image clustering with pair-wise image
Figure 2. Coarse to fine cluster-based near duplicate detec-
tion framework.
As we have mentioned earlier, the proposed similarity
detection model is sequentially partitioned into two steps:
the first step is to cluster the images based on coarse fea-
tures, which are usually cheap features in terms of com-
putation cost; the second step is to conduct more com-
plex features so as to more accurately detect duplicate
image pairs within the clusters. The purpose for the first
step is to roughly partition the image group while main-
taining their duplication bonds within the clusters. In the
second step, comparisons are conducted between image
pairs in each cluster for near duplicate detection. We
need more accurate object-oriented features, or in other
words the local features, for the accurate detection step.
2.1. Global Approach
Object localization is very important for near duplicate
detection. To utilize the global feature in near duplicate
detection, the object has to be localized as accurate as
possible. Meanwhile, to avoid the time consuming opera-
tion of accurate object localization, we just roughly parti-
tion the image into 5 segments and extract global color
histogram feature from each of them and then concate-
nate the features to form our global feature.
Specifically, the features are extracted on a partition-
based framework, rather than image-based or seg-
ment -ba sed framework, as shown in Figure 3. We choose
the partition-based framework based on the following
consideration: a) image-based framework is not accurate
enough for representing object images; b) segment-based
framework is too computationally expensive and may
somet imes fall into the over segmentation trouble; c)
partition-based framework is a trade-off between accu-
racy and speed. The images are partitioned into 5
equal-sized parts, with 4 parts on the corner and 1 part at
the center. We had the assumption that the object should
either fill up the whole image or should lie in either one
of the 5 partitions. The similarity measurement of two
images will be represented as follows :
where i, j are from the partition set of X, Y, which is
composed by 5 regional partitions and one entire image.
By calculating the similarity score for each of the parti-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJAppS
tion pairs, the maximum score is taken as the similarity
score between the two images.
A color histogram was used as the global feature in
this model and performed on the partition-based frame-
work. We performed on the HSV color space to extract
the histogram vectors. HSV color space outperforms the
RGB color space by its invariance to the change of illu-
mination. We conducted the histogram extraction on the
Hue component and formed a bin of 10 dimensions.
The data set is then clustered with Affinity Propaga-
tion algorithm into several clusters. Affinity Propagation
has the advantages that it can automatically determine
the number of clusters; treats each image node equally
and has a relatively fast merging speed. For the next step,
a more accurate pair-wise comparison of near-duplicates
will be conducted within each of the clusters with local
2.2. Local Approach
We will use the Bag-of-Word model to represent the lo-
cal visual features. The images are fine partitioned into
blocks or represented by interest points; then CPAM de-
scriptor and SIFT descriptor are applied respectively to
represent each block or the neighborhood of an interest
There is evidence to prove the existence of different
visual pathways to process color and pattern in the hu-
man visual system. Qiu et. al. [11] proposed the CPAM
feature to represent color and pattern visual representa-
tions on YCbCr color space which gives state-of-the-art
performance on content-based image retrieval applica-
tions. CPAM feature captures statistically representa-
tive chromatic and achromatic spatial image patterns and
use the distributions of these patterns within an image to
characterize the image's visual content. We build a
256-dimensional codebook for each of the two channels,
P channel for pattern representation and C channel for
Color representation, from large collection of training
data. Each image is encoded with vector quantization
technique into a 256-dimensional feature vector. The two
types of codebook is concatenated into one
512-dimensional codebook, so the corresponding com-
bined feature vector is a 512-dimension vector, with
256-dimension for pattern channel (P) and
256-dimension for color channel (C).
We also consider another well know local feature de-
scriptor, the Bag-of-Words model with SIFT descriptor,
to represent the local visual patterns of the image. For
each image, the interest points are extracted with Dif-
fere -nce of Gaussian and represented with a
128-dimensional SIFT descriptor. Specifically, the de-
scriptor is formed from a vector containing the values of
all the orientation histogram entries. We have followed
David Lowes's implementation [12] with a 4 by 4 array
of histogram with 8 orientations in each bin. Therefore,
the dimension of the feature vector for each interest point
Figure 3. Global feature extraction framework: left to right:
image-based, partition-based, segment-based.
is 128. A universal code book is then constructed by col-
lecting all the available interest points from the data set.
One critical issue for code book construction is to deter-
mine the size of the code book. A size too large or too
small may both defect the content representation ability
for the images. We have used the grid search method to
browse through different size of code book and choose
the best code book size in terms of the near duplicate
detection performance. In our experiment, we choose a
codebook size of 3000 and use the vector quantization
technique to encode the images into a 3000-dimensional
feature vector.
2.3. Multi-modal Detection Integration
The CPAM feature and SIFT feature map the input im-
ages into different high-dimensional feature spaces re-
spectively. The similarity for the feature points in these
two different feature spaces are characterized by different
visual aspects of the images, such as color visual pattern
and texture visual pattern. As a result, each feature could
be used as a strong supplement to the other in nearest
neighbor search step, or the near duplicate detection task.
Before we could fuse the detection results from two dif-
ferent perspectives, we need to firstly separate the correct
matches from the entire return ranking list.
For CPAM feature, given the existence of a large
number of negative matches, the similarity between the
query image and the negative matches are distributed
uniformly in a certain range. If there are positive
matches, the similarity between query image and the
matched images should be out of the bound of the above
range. For a true positive near-duplicate match, the query
image and the matched image should be very close to
each other on the feature space, while all the negative
images are significantly far away from the matched pairs
and uniformly distributed in the feature space. If we draw
the distance diagram with respect to the returned ranking
list, then the negative distances will form a linear func-
tion in the larger range, and the top few true matches, if
exist, are out- liers of this linear function. This assump-
tion ignites us to use linear regression to reconstruct a
linear function to reproduce the distribution of the dis-
tances for all the images to the query image, and the top
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJAppS
few outliers, if exist, of this reconstructed linear function
should be the true
Figure 4. True positive match determination by linear re-
gression on the CPAM feature; x-axis represents the re-
turned ranking index; y-axis represents the corresponding
distance values to the query image.
positive matches. As shown in Figure 4, there is one true
positive match in the database for the given query image
(the first indexed point). The majority of the
non-matched distance score can be perfectly modeled by
a linear regression function, and the first indexed dis-
tance score is left as an outlier to this regression function,
which results in a true positive detection of
near-duplicate. In actual implementation, we will ran-
domly sample the retrieval results from large range for
linear regression and repeat the linear regression opera-
tion for several times, to make sure the correct distribu-
tion of false matches is discovered and the true matches
are left as outliers.
The above linear regression framework models the
distribution of the distances to the query image and
detect the outliers with respect to the generated linear
function with a predefined threshold. The duplicates are
extracted as the outliers discovered with the above re-
gression model.
For SIFT BoW model, even true matches does not
distinguish itself from all the others by having a signifi-
cant larger normalized number of matched interest points.
The reason for this is due to the limited representation
ability of the Bag-of-Word model: non-matched points
may also fall into the same bin of the codebook. In order
to strictly detect true duplicate pairs, we have calculated
the similarity value of the query image with itself, and
compared this value with the returned values from the
ranking list. We set a threshold heuristically to strictly
enforce that only the true duplicates are detected. Specif-
ically, only the similarity values that are close enough to
the similarity value of the query image to itself will be
accepted as duplication, which can be defined below.
where i is the query image, j is the database image.
Finally, the duplicate extraction results with CPAM
BoW model is merged with the SIFT BoW model to
form the final result, which realizes the multimodal inte-
gration of the two different features. Specifically, for
each query, we will retrieve with both CPAM and SIFT
BoW models; afterwards, we extract the duplicates from
the CPAM BoW model results with linear regression
model, and from SIFT BoW model results with self
comparison, and then combine the two extraction results
to get the final duplications.
3. Evaluation and Discussion
We have evaluated near duplicate detection performance
with two similar evaluation metrics, which are p re c i-
sion/recall and average precision. For prec ision /recall
evaluation, we only investigate the first return image
from the ranking list, which is the top one detection re-
sult. If it is a true positive match, then we say the match
for the query image is successfully found; if not, then the
match is not detected for this query image. For a ranked
list of return results, we also use the mean average preci-
sion (mean AP) to evaluate the performance, which is
more accurate than only evaluating the first returned re-
sult. For each query, we consider the average precision
up to top 10 return results. Mean AP equals to the mean
of the average precision values from all the queries.
For the near duplicate detection, we evaluate our pro-
posed framework with other two baseline algorithms by
comparing their performance on both detection accuracy
(precision/recall) and computation cost. The first baseline
algorithm, Hash-based algorithm, proposed in [13], parti-
tioned the image into blocks, applied a hash function,
took the binary string as the feature vector and then
grouped the matches based on their Hamming distance.
The second baseline algorithm, pair wise-based algo-
rithm, used the CPAM and SIFTS BoW model matching
algorithms directly without applying the clustering step.
We manually labeled 20 clusters from 20 different cate-
gories for duplicate pair dete ctio n. We have the follow-
ing observations: a) the three models have comparable
detection precision. The cluster-based model and
hash -based model perform similarly and they both out-
perform the pair wise-based model. b) The hash-based
model has a low recall score compared to the other two
whi ch means a large false positive rate. The reason is that
hash -based method can successfully detect all the dupli-
cate image pairs but miss most of the near-duplicate pairs
which varies slightly on the background. On the other
hand, the cluster-based model successfully detects most
of the near-duplicate pairs. The average performance for
the 20 categories can be found in Table 1 and we have
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJAppS
the conclusion that cluster-based model achieved the best
average performance among the three models.
In order to evaluate the computation efficiency of the
proposed framework, we counted the number of compar-
isons and recorded the actual runtime for each of the
models on “outdoor commercial” set as appeared in Ta-
ble 2. Experiment ran on a Intel Duo3.0G PC. We ob-
served that, without considering the detection power,
hash -based algorithm ran much faster than the algorithms
based on local features. If the detection of near-duplicate
was a must, the cluster -based model outperformed the
pair wise-based model dramatically by saving more than
2/3 of the computation cost. The computation burden for
global feature clustering was insignificant, which ran at
almost real time (2 sec) compared to local feature step.
Furthermore, the cost saving was even remarkable as the
scale of the data set increased.
We will evaluate the performance of CPAM and SIFT
BoW model on near duplicate detection task; our de-
sign of using linear regression to extract true positive
near duplicates; and whether or not the multimodal inte-
gration structure will improve the performance when
compared with using single feature model only. The
near duplicate detection techniques are designed for gen-
eral image collections. In order to make more clear com-
parison, we will evaluate the proposed techniques and
frameworks on a challenging data set, which is composed
by 15000 images with both scene and object images. We
manually extracted 190 query images. For each image,
there is at least one near duplicate can be found in the
data set.
Table 1. Duplicate detection performance (precision/recall)
Cluster-based Hash-based Pair-wi s ed
Average 0.72/0.71 0.68/0.50 0.64/ 0.71
Table 2. Computation efficiency for category “out-comm”
# of comparisons Runtime (sec)
Cluster-based 22136 22
Hash-based 400 1
Pair-wi s ed 79600 69
We have compared the effectiveness of our proposed
true positive detection extraction framework. The evalu-
ation results are reported in Table 3: The false removal
(FR) rate equals to 0.1537, which means the percentage
of true positive detections that are falsely removed by the
proposed extraction framework. We can observe that a
very small percentage of true positives are removed by
the proposed framework. Moreover, the removed true
positive detection will be recovered by the SIFT BoW
model, which is major benefit of our multimodal integra-
tion framework. The Recall value equals to 0.9007,
which means a very little percentage of false positive
detections will be retained in the final detection result.
The mean AP and Precision measurement are defined
similarly as before. From the recall value and false re-
moval rate, we have the conclusion that the proposed
near duplicate detection framework is effective in terms
of maintaining the true positive detections, as well as
eliminating false positive detections.
Table 3. Performance evaluation of True Positive (TP)
extraction with CPAM BoW model.
Mean AP Precision Recall FR rate
TP extraction 0.7695 0.7751 0.9007 0.1537
For accurate detection with local features, we have eva-
luated the performance of the CPAM and SIFT BoW
model in comparison with the “simply-designed” feature,
such as global color histogram. The detection result can
be found in Table 4. We can see from the result that the
proposed “CPAM + SIFT” model performs the best, es-
pecially when compared with using single model of
CPAM or SIFT. If using only single feature model,
CPAM model performs better than SIFT model on aver-
age, however, we have observed both cases that, some
queries work better with CPAM models, while some
others work better with SIFT model, such as the exam-
ples shown in Figure 5. The top image pair in Figure 5
can be successfully detected with CPAM model while
not be able to detected by SIFT model; the bottom image
pair in Figure 5, on the other hand, works with SIFT
model rather than CPAM model. As a result, successful
combination of the detection ability of both models will
inevitably increase the detection performance. Some
more detection result with the proposed “CPAM + SIFT”
design can be found in Figure 6. The top 3 rows in Fig-
ure 6(a) show successful detection, with the near-dupli-
cate images bounded by a red box; the 4th row in Figure
6 (b) shows a negative detection result, where the
near-duplicate pair is not detected. The evaluation result
of multimodal integration framework compared with
single feature model and global feature model can be
found in Table 4. From this table, we can observe that
local feature models perform significantly better than
global features on near duplicate detection task, by at
least 50% of performance improvement in terms of mean
AP. The proposed the CPAM and SIFT integration mod-
el performs the best, followed by using CPAM model
4. Conclusion
We have designed a coarse-to-fine near duplicate detec-
tion structure which speeds up the detection process
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJAppS
Table 4. Detection model evaluation: global feature, single
local feature and integrated local feature model.
Mean AP 0.3 540 0.5650 0 .8424 0.8836
Figure 5. Comparison between CPAM and SIFT model: (a)
CPAM model works while SIFT model do not work; (b)
SIFT model works while CPAM model do not work.
Figure 6. Example results with “CPAM+SIFT” design;
query image on left-most column; red bounding box indi-
cates a positive detection.
dramatically compared to traditional pair-wise detectio n.
We further tested the multi-modal feature combination
and achieves impressive near duplicate detection results
compared to using single feature.
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