In the last decade, the research topic of automatic analysis of facial expressions has become a central topic in machine vision research. Nonetheless, there is a glaring lack of a comprehensive, readily accessible reference set of face images that could be used as a basis for benchmarks for efforts in the field. This lack of easily accessible, suitable, common testing resource forms the major impediment to comparing and extending the issues concerned with automatic facial expression analysis. In this paper, we discuss a number of issues that make the problem of creating a benchmark facial expression database difficult. We then present the MMI Facial Expression Database, which includes more than 1500 samples of both static images and image sequences of faces in frontal and in profile view displaying various expressions of emotion, single and multiple facial muscle activation. It has been built as a web-based direct-manipulation application, allowing easy access and easy search of the available images. This database represents the most comprehensive reference set of images for studies on facial expression analysis to date.
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