A multi-plane approach for text segmentation of complex document images

Yen Lin Chen, Bing-Fei Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This study presents a new method, namely the multi-plane segmentation approach, for segmenting and extracting textual objects from various real-life complex document images. The proposed multi-plane segmentation approach first decomposes the document image into distinct object planes to extract and separate homogeneous objects including textual regions of interest, non-text objects such as graphics and pictures, and background textures. This process consists of two stages-localized histogram multilevel thresholding and multi-plane region matching and assembling. Then a text extraction procedure is applied on the resultant planes to detect and extract textual objects with different characteristics in the respective planes. The proposed approach processes document images regionally and adaptively according to their respective local features. Hence detailed characteristics of the extracted textual objects, particularly small characters with thin strokes, as well as gradational illuminations of characters, can be well-preserved. Moreover, this way also allows background objects with uneven, gradational, and sharp variations in contrast, illumination, and texture to be handled easily and well. Experimental results on real-life complex document images demonstrate that the proposed approach is effective in extracting textual objects with various illuminations, sizes, and font styles from various types of complex document images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1444
Number of pages26
JournalPattern Recognition
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Complex document images
  • Document image processing
  • Image segmentation
  • Multilevel thresholding
  • Region segmentation
  • Text extraction


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