This is one of the 100 recipes of the IPython Cookbook, the definitive guide to high-performance scientific computing and data science in Python.

11.4. Finding points of interest in an image

You need to download the Child dataset on the book's website. (

  1. Let's import the packages.
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import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import skimage
import skimage.feature as sf
import matplotlib as mpl
%matplotlib inline
  1. We create a function to display a colored or grayscale image.
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def show(img, cmap=None):
    cmap = cmap or
    plt.imshow(img, cmap=cmap);
  1. We load an image.
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img = plt.imread('data/pic2.jpg')
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  1. We find salient points in the image with the Harris corner method. The first step consists in computing the Harris corner measure response image with the corner_harris function (we will explain this measure in How it works...).
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corners = sf.corner_harris(img[:,:,0])
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We see that the patterns in the child's coat are particularly well detected by this algorithm.

  1. The next step consists in detecting corners from this measure image, using the corner_peaks function.
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peaks = sf.corner_peaks(corners)
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plt.plot(peaks[:,1], peaks[:,0], 'or', ms=4);
  1. Finally, we create a box around the corner points to define our region of interest.
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ymin, xmin = peaks.min(axis=0)
ymax, xmax = peaks.max(axis=0)
w, h = xmax-xmin, ymax-ymin
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k = .25
xmin -= k*w
xmax += k*w
ymin -= k*h
ymax += k*h
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You'll find all the explanations, figures, references, and much more in the book (to be released later this summer).

IPython Cookbook, by Cyrille Rossant, Packt Publishing, 2014 (500 pages).