Computational Visual Media

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 17–32 | Cite as

A 3D morphometric perspective for facial gender analysis and classification using geodesic path curvature features

  • Hawraa Abbas
  • Yulia Hicks
  • David Marshall
  • Alexei I. Zhurov
  • Stephen Richmond
Open Access
Research Article


The relationship between the shape and gender of a face, with particular application to automatic gender classification, has been the subject of significant research in recent years. Determining the gender of a face, especially when dealing with unseen examples, presents a major challenge. This is especially true for certain age groups, such as teenagers, due to their rapid development at this phase of life. This study proposes a new set of facial morphological descriptors, based on 3D geodesic path curvatures, and uses them for gender analysis. Their goal is to discern key facial areas related to gender, specifically suited to the task of gender classification. These new curvature-based features are extracted along the geodesic path between two biological landmarks located in key facial areas.

Classification performance based on the new features is compared with that achieved using the Euclidean and geodesic distance measures traditionally used in gender analysis and classification. Five different experiments were conducted on a large teenage face database (4745 faces from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) to investigate and justify the use of the proposed curvature features. Our experiments show that the combination of the new features with geodesic distances provides a classification accuracy of 89%. They also show that nose-related traits provide the most discriminative facial feature for gender classification, with the most discriminative features lying along the 3D face profile curve.


ALSPAC dataset gender classification curvature features geodesic curve 



We are extremely grateful to all of the families who took part in this study, the midwives for their help in recruiting them, and the whole ALSPAC team, which includes interviewers, computer and laboratory technicians, clerical workers, research scientists, volunteers, managers, receptionists, and nurses. The UK Medical Research Council and the Welcome Trust (Grant ref: 102215/2/13/2) and the University of Bristol provided core support for ALSPAC. This publication is the work of the authors and the first author Hawraa Abbas will serve as guarantor of the contents of this paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Hawraa Abbas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yulia Hicks
    • 1
  • David Marshall
    • 3
  • Alexei I. Zhurov
    • 4
  • Stephen Richmond
    • 4
  1. 1.School of EngineeringKerbala UniversityKarbolaaIraq
  2. 2.School of EngineeringCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  3. 3.School of Computer Science and InformaticsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  4. 4.School of DentistryCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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