Robust Tensor Decomposition Based Background/Foreground Separation in Noisy Videos and Its Applications in Additive Manufacturing

Bo Shen, Rakesh R. Kamath, Hahn Choo, Zhenyu Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background/foreground separation is one of the most fundamental tasks in computer vision, especially for video data. Robust PCA (RPCA) and its tensor extension, namely, Robust Tensor PCA (RTPCA), provide an effective framework for background/foreground separation by decomposing the data into low-rank and sparse components, which contain the background and the foreground (moving objects), respectively. However, in real-world applications, the video data is contaminated with noise. For example, in metal additive manufacturing (AM), the processed X-ray video to study melt pool dynamics is very noisy. RPCA and RTPCA are not able to separate the background, foreground, and noise simultaneously. As a result, the noise will contaminate the background or the foreground or both. There is a need to remove the noise from the background and foreground. To achieve the three components decomposition, a smooth sparse Robust Tensor Decomposition (SS-RTD) model is proposed to decompose the data into static background, smooth foreground, and noise, respectively. Specifically, the static background is modeled by the low-rank tucker decomposition, the smooth foreground (moving objects) is modeled by the spatio-temporal continuity, which is enforced by the total variation regularization, and the noise is modeled by the sparsity, which is enforced by the $\ell _{1}$ norm. An efficient algorithm based on alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) is implemented to solve the proposed model. Extensive experiments on both simulated and real data demonstrate that the proposed method significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches for background/foreground separation in noisy cases. Note to Practitioners - This work is motivated by melt pool detection in metal additive manufacturing where the processed X-ray video from the monitoring system is very noisy. The objective is to recover the background with porosity defects and the foreground with melt pool in the presence of noise. Existing methods fail to separate the noise from the background and foreground since RPCA and RTPCA have only two components, which cannot explain the three components in the data. This paper puts forward a smooth sparse Robust Tensor Decomposition by decomposing the tensor data into low-rank, smooth, and sparse components, respectively. It is a highly effective method for background/foreground separation in noisy case. In the case studies on simulated video and X-ray data, the proposed method can handle non-additive noise, and even the case of high noise-ratio. In the proposed algorithm, there is only one tuning parameter $\lambda $. Based on the case studies, our method achieves satisfying performance by taking any $\lambda \in [{0.2,1}]$ with anisotropic total variation regularization. With this observation, practitioners can apply the proposed method without extensive parameter tuning work. Furthermore, the proposed method is also applicable to other popular industrial applications. Practitioners can use the proposed SS-RTD for degradation processes monitoring, where the degradation image contains the static background, anomaly, and random disturbance, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-596
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Robust tensor decomposition (RTD)
  • low-rankness
  • smooth sparse decomposition
  • spatio-temporal continuity
  • total variation regularization


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