OpenCV  4.9.0-dev
Open Source Computer Vision
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Using the Facemark API


In this tutorial will helps you to

  • Create a Facemark object.
  • Set a user defined face detector for the facemark algorithm
  • Train the algorithm.
  • Use the trained model to detect the facial landmarks from a given image.


Before you continue with this tutorial, you should download the dataset of facial landmarks detection. We suggest you to download the helen dataset which can be retrieved at (Caution! The algorithm requires around 9GB of RAM to train on this dataset).

Make sure that the annotation format is supported by the API, the contents in annotation file should look like the following snippet:

version: 1
n_points: 68
212.716603 499.771793
230.232816 566.290071

The next thing to do is to make 2 text files containing the list of image files and annotation files respectively. Make sure that the order or image and annotation in both files are matched. Furthermore, it is advised to use absolute path instead of relative path. Example to make the file list in Linux machine

ls $PWD/trainset/*.jpg > images_train.txt
ls $PWD/trainset/*.pts > annotation_train.txt

example of content in the images_train.txt


example of content in the annotation_train.txt


Creating the facemark object

/*create the facemark instance*/
FacemarkLBF::Params params;
params.model_filename = "helen.model"; // the trained model will be saved using this filename
Ptr<Facemark> facemark = FacemarkLBF::create(params);

Set a custom face detector function

Firstly, you need to create your own face detector function, you might also need to create a struct to save the custom parameter. Alternatively, you can just make these parameter hard coded within the myDetector function.

struct Conf {
cv::String model_path;
double scaleFactor;
Conf(cv::String s, double d){
model_path = s;
scaleFactor = d;
CascadeClassifier face_detector;
bool myDetector(InputArray image, OutputArray faces, Conf *conf){
Mat gray;
if (image.channels() > 1)
cvtColor(image, gray, COLOR_BGR2GRAY);
gray = image.getMat().clone();
equalizeHist(gray, gray);
std::vector<Rect> faces_;
conf->face_cascade.detectMultiScale(gray, faces_, conf->scaleFactor, 2, CASCADE_SCALE_IMAGE, Size(30, 30) );
return true;

The following snippet demonstrates how to set the custom detector to the facemark object and use it to detect the faces. Keep in mind that some facemark object might use the face detector during the training process.

Conf config("../data/lbpcascade_frontalface.xml", 1.4);
facemark->setFaceDetector(myDetector, &config); // we must guarantee proper lifetime of "config" object

Here is the snippet for detecting face using the user defined face detector function.

Mat img = imread("../data/himym3.jpg");
std::vector<cv::Rect> faces;
facemark->getFaces(img, faces, config);
for(int j=0;j<faces.size();j++){
cv::rectangle(img, faces[j], cv::Scalar(255,0,255));
imshow("result", img);

Training a facemark object

  • First of all, you need to set the training parameters
    params.n_landmarks = 68; // number of landmark points
    params.initShape_n = 10; // number of multiplier for make data augmentation
    params.stages_n=5; // amount of refinement stages
    params.tree_n=6; // number of tree in the model for each landmark point
    params.tree_depth=5; //he depth of decision tree
    facemark = FacemarkLBF::create(params);
  • And then, you need to load the file list from the dataset that you have prepared.
    std::vector<String> images_train;
    std::vector<String> landmarks_train;
  • The next step is to add training samples into the facemark object.
    Mat image;
    std::vector<Point2f> facial_points;
    for(size_t i=0;i<images_train.size();i++){
    image = imread(images_train[i].c_str());
    facemark->addTrainingSample(image, facial_points);
  • execute the training process
    /*train the Algorithm*/

Use the trained model to detect the facial landmarks from a given image.

  • First of all, load the trained model. You can also download the pre-trained model in this link
  • Detect the faces
    facemark->getFaces(img, faces, config);
  • Perform the fitting process
    std::vector<std::vector<Point2f> > landmarks;
    facemark->fit(img, faces, landmarks);
  • Display the result
    for(int j=0;j<faces.size();j++){
    face::drawFacemarks(img, landmarks[j], Scalar(0,0,255));
    imshow("result", img);