Dynamic Facial Expression Recognition under Partial Occlusion with Optical Flow Reconstruction

Delphine Poux, Benjamin Allaert, Nacim Ihaddadene, Ioan Marius Bilasco, Chaabane Djeraba, Mohammed Bennamoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Video facial expression recognition is useful for many applications and received much interest lately. Although some methods give good results in controlled environments (no occlusion), recognition in the presence of partial facial occlusion remains a challenging task. To handle facial occlusions, methods based on the reconstruction of the occluded part of the face have been proposed. These methods are mainly based on the texture or the geometry of the face. However, the similarity of the face movement between different persons doing the same expression seems to be a real asset for the reconstruction. In this paper we exploit this asset and propose a new method based on an auto-encoder with skip connections to reconstruct the occluded part of the face in the optical flow domain. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that directly reconstructs the movement for facial expression recognition. We validated our approach in the controlled CK+ datasets on which different occlusions were generated. Our experiments show that the proposed method reduces the gap in the recognition accuracy between occluded and unoccluded situations. We also compare our approach with existing state-of-the-art approaches. In order to lay the basis of a reproducible and fair comparison in the future, we also propose a new experimental protocol that includes occlusion generation and reconstruction evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-457
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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