Contour and skeleton are two complementary representations for shape recognition. However combining them in a principal way is nontrivial, as they are generally abstracted by different structures (closed string vs graph), respectively. This paper aims at addressing the shape recognition problem by combining contour and skeleton according to the correspondence between them. The correspondence provides a straightforward way to associate skeletal information with a shape contour. More specifically, we propose a new shape descriptor, named Skeleton-associated Shape Context (SSC), which captures the features of a contour fragment associated with skeletal information. Benefited from the association, the proposed shape descriptor provides the complementary geometric information from both contour and skeleton parts, including the spatial distribution and the thickness change along the shape part. To form a meaningful shape feature vector for an overall shape, the Bag of Features framework is applied to the SSC descriptors extracted from it. Finally, the shape feature vector is fed into a linear SVM classifier to recognize the shape. The encouraging experimental results demonstrate that the proposed way to combine contour and skeleton is effective for shape recognition, which achieves the state-of-the-art performances on several standard shape benchmarks.
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