Use 2D barcodes for aligning image in .NET/C#

Blog category: BarcodeForms processing

May 15, 2020

Forms processing and optical marks recognition (OMR) technology is widely used for classification, routing and recognition by templates of forms of electronic documents like invoices, waybills, etc; recognition of optical marks filled into a form of test, questionnaire, ballots, etc.

VintaSoft Forms Processing .NET Plug-in can be used both for recognition of forms and for aligning image by template. This article describes how to use barcodes instead of lines for image identification and so improve the accuracy and reliability of recognition.

The image aligning process consists from image identification by template and getting the transformation matrix, which defines the offset, squeezing and rotation of image relatively to the template. Next, the transformation matrix is used for aligning the image.

Identify an image by template, which uses key zones based on barcodes


The identification of image is performed using the TemplateMatchingCommand class. The result of successful identification is a matrix of transforms, which defines the offsets, squeezing and rotation of image relatively to the template.

The TemplateMatchingCommand class creates imprint of input image and template image, compares imprints and determines if the images are similar. By default, the class generates an image imprint based on straight lines.

In this article we will change the algorithm, which generates an image imprint, and use compact 2D barcodes Aztec Rune for generating the image imprint. Aztec Rune perfectly fits our task, because:

For image identification using key zones based on barcodes we have to do the following steps:


Align an image by template, which uses key zones based on barcodes


The aligning of image is performed using the TemplateAligningCommand class. The class uses the matrix of transforms achieved during image identification.

For image aligning using key zones based on barcodes we have to do the following steps:


Image aligning example


Here is an image that we will use as a template image:
Document template image with key zones based on barcodes

It contains 3 barcodes, which are not collinear (i.e. 3 reference points), the minimum allowable number of reference points necessary for correct work of algorithm. It is allowed to use more barcodes for the case when they could be damaged or truncated.
The barcodes may be placed into any area of page, but the best accuracy in identification of distortions is reached when barcodes are located at the edges of document.

Lets use 3 test document images.

Here is 90-degree rotated document image with key zones based on barcodes:
90-degree rotated document image with key zones based on barcodes

Here is 150-degree rotated and scaled document image with key zones based on barcodes:
150-degree rotated and scaled document image with key zones based on barcodes

Here is 180-degree rotated and scaled document image with key zones based on barcodes:
180-degree rotated and scaled document image with key zones based on barcodes


Here is an example of C# console application, which performs the process of image comparison and aligning:
public static void Test()
{
    AlignImages(
        new string[] { "BarcodeTemplateMatching_template1.png" },
        new string[] {
    "BarcodeTemplateMatching_1_rotate90.png",
    "BarcodeTemplateMatching_1_scale-rotate150.png",
    "BarcodeTemplateMatching_1_scale-rotate180.png"});
}

public static void AlignImages(string[] templates, string[] images)
{
    // create barcode key zone recognizer
    BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand barcodeRecognizer = new BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand();
    // set barcode reader settings
    barcodeRecognizer.Settings.ScanBarcodeTypes = Vintasoft.Barcode.BarcodeType.Aztec;
    barcodeRecognizer.Settings.ScanDirection = Vintasoft.Barcode.ScanDirection.Horizontal | Vintasoft.Barcode.ScanDirection.Vertical;
    barcodeRecognizer.Settings.AutomaticRecognition = true;
    // specify that image contains 3 barcodes
    barcodeRecognizer.Settings.ExpectedBarcodes = 3;

    // create an imprint generator, which is based on barcode key zones
    Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.ImageImprintGeneratorCommand barcodeImprintGenerator =
        new Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.ImageImprintGeneratorCommand(barcodeRecognizer);

    // create template matching command
    Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.TemplateMatchingCommand templateMatchingCommand =
        new Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.TemplateMatchingCommand();
    // specify that the template matching command must use imprint generator, which is based on barcode key zones
    templateMatchingCommand.ImageImprintGenerator = barcodeImprintGenerator;

    // for each template image file
    foreach (string template in templates)
    {
        // add template image file to the templates of template matching command
        templateMatchingCommand.TemplateImages.Add(template);
    }

    // for each input image file
    foreach (string imageFilename in images)
    {
        // create input image
        using (Vintasoft.Imaging.VintasoftImage image = new Vintasoft.Imaging.VintasoftImage(imageFilename))
        {
            // find a template for the image
            templateMatchingCommand.ExecuteInPlace(image);
            // get the image compare result
            Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.ImageImprintCompareResult compareResult = templateMatchingCommand.Result.ImageCompareResult;

            // print image file name
            System.Console.WriteLine(imageFilename);
            // print the image comparison result
            System.Console.WriteLine(string.Format(" IsReliable ={0}", compareResult.IsReliable));

            // if template for image is found
            if (compareResult.IsReliable)
            {
                // print the image comparison confidence
                System.Console.WriteLine(string.Format(" Confidence ={0}%", compareResult.Confidence * 100));
                // print information about matrix, which defines image transformation relative to the template image
                System.Console.WriteLine(string.Format(" TransformMatrix ={0}", compareResult.TransformMatrix));

                // create the template aligning command
                Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.TemplateAligningCommand templateAligningCommand =
                    new Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.TemplateAligningCommand();
                // specify that template aligning command must use matrix, which defines image transformation relative to the template image
                templateAligningCommand.CompareResult = compareResult;
                // apply the aligning command to the image
                templateAligningCommand.ExecuteInPlace(image);
                // save aligned image to a file
                image.Save(string.Format("{0}_result.png", System.IO.Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(imageFilename)));
            }
            System.Console.WriteLine();
        }
    }
}

After application execution we will get document images, which are not rotated and not scaled.

Here is the form recognition result for 90-degree rotated document image with keyzones based on barcodes:
The form recognition result for 90-degrees rotated document image with keyzones based on barcodes

Here is the form recognition result for 150-degree rotated and scaled document image with keyzones based on barcodes:
The form recognition result for 150-degree rotated and scaled document image with keyzones based on barcodes

Here is the form recognition result for 180-degree rotated and scaled document image with keyzones based on barcodes:
The form recognition result for 180-degree rotated and scaled document image with keyzones based on barcodes



Source codes, which are used in this article


Here is C# code of BarcodeKeyZone class, which determines the key zone that contains a barcode:
/// <summary>
/// Represents key zone based on recognized barcode.
/// </summary>
public class BarcodeKeyZone : Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone
{

    #region Constructors

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="BarcodeKeyZone"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="barcodeInfo">The barcode information.</param>
    public BarcodeKeyZone(Vintasoft.Barcode.IBarcodeInfo barcodeInfo)
        : base()
    {
        _barcodeInfo = barcodeInfo;
        if (barcodeInfo is Vintasoft.Barcode.BarcodeInfo.AztecInfo)
        {
            // get the barcode center from barcode info
            _location = ((Vintasoft.Barcode.BarcodeInfo.AztecInfo)barcodeInfo).BulleyeCenter;
        }
        else
        {
            // calculate the barcode center

            _location = System.Drawing.PointF.Empty;
            System.Drawing.Point[] points = barcodeInfo.Region.GetPoints();
            for (int i = 0; i < points.Length; i++)
            {
                _location.X += points[i].X;
                _location.Y += points[i].Y;
            }
            _location.X /= points.Length;
            _location.Y /= points.Length;
        }
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="BarcodeKeyZone"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="barcodeInfo">The barcode information.</param>
    /// <param name="location">The location.</param>
    private BarcodeKeyZone(Vintasoft.Barcode.IBarcodeInfo barcodeInfo, System.Drawing.PointF location)
        : base()
    {
        _barcodeInfo = barcodeInfo;
        _location = location;
    }

    #endregion



    #region Properties

    System.Drawing.PointF _location;
    /// <summary>
    /// Gets the location of the key zone on the image.
    /// </summary>
    public override System.Drawing.PointF Location
    {
        get
        {
            return _location;
        }
    }

    Vintasoft.Barcode.IBarcodeInfo _barcodeInfo;
    /// <summary>
    /// Gets the barcode information.
    /// </summary>
    public Vintasoft.Barcode.IBarcodeInfo BarcodeInfo
    {
        get
        {
            return _barcodeInfo;
        }
    }

    #endregion



    #region Methods

    /// <summary>
    /// Applies a transformation to the key zone.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="m">The <see cref="Vintasoft.Imaging.AffineMatrix" />
    /// that specifies the transformation to apply.</param>
    public override void Transform(Vintasoft.Imaging.AffineMatrix m)
    {
        if (m == null)
            return;
        _location = Vintasoft.Imaging.PointFAffineTransform.TransformPoint(m, _location);
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Returns the similarity of specified <see cref="Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone" /> and the current key zone.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="zone">The <see cref="Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone" /> to compare with.</param>
    /// <returns>
    /// The similarity of specified keyzone and the current key zone in range from 0 to 1.<br />
    /// 0 means that zones are absolutely NOT similar;
    /// 1 means that zones are perfectly similar.
    /// </returns>
    public override double CalculateSimilarity(Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone zone)
    {
        BarcodeKeyZone barcodeZone = zone as BarcodeKeyZone;
        if (barcodeZone == null)
            return 0;

        if (barcodeZone.BarcodeInfo.Value == BarcodeInfo.Value &&
            barcodeZone.BarcodeInfo.BarcodeType == BarcodeInfo.BarcodeType)
            return 1;

        return 0;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Creates a new object that is a copy of the current instance.
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns>A new object that is a copy of this instance.</returns>
    public override object Clone()
    {
        return new BarcodeKeyZone(BarcodeInfo, Location);
    }

    #endregion

}


Here is C# code of BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand class, which defines the command of searching for key zones containing a barcode:
/// <summary>
/// Recognizes key zones, based on barcodes, on an image.
/// </summary>
public class BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand : Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZoneRecognizerCommand
{

    #region Constructors

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    public BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand()
        : base()
    {
    }

    #endregion



    #region Properties

    static System.Collections.ObjectModel.ReadOnlyCollection<Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat> _supportedNativePixelFormats;
    /// <summary>
    /// Gets a list of supported pixel formats for this processing command.
    /// </summary>
    public override System.Collections.ObjectModel.ReadOnlyCollection<Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat> SupportedNativePixelFormats
    {
        get
        {
            if (_supportedNativePixelFormats == null)
            {
                System.Collections.Generic.List<Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat> supportedPixelFormats = new System.Collections.Generic.List<Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat>();
                supportedPixelFormats.Add(Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat.BlackWhite);
                supportedPixelFormats.Add(Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat.Bgr24);
                supportedPixelFormats.Add(Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat.Bgr32);
                supportedPixelFormats.Add(Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat.Indexed1);
                supportedPixelFormats.Add(Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat.Indexed8);
                supportedPixelFormats.Add(Vintasoft.Imaging.PixelFormat.Gray8);
                _supportedNativePixelFormats = supportedPixelFormats.AsReadOnly();
            }
            return _supportedNativePixelFormats;
        }
    }

    Vintasoft.Barcode.ReaderSettings _settings = new Vintasoft.Barcode.ReaderSettings();
    /// <summary>
    /// Gets or sets the barcode reader settings.
    /// </summary>
    /// <value>
    /// The reader settings.
    /// </value>
    public Vintasoft.Barcode.ReaderSettings Settings
    {
        get
        {
            return _settings;
        }
        set
        {
            if (value == null)
                throw new System.ArgumentNullException();
            _settings = value;
        }
    }

    #endregion



    #region Methods

    /// <summary>
    /// Creates a new <see cref="BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand"/> that is a copy of the current
    /// instance.
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns>A new <see cref="BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand"/> that is a copy of this
    /// instance.</returns>
    public override object Clone()
    {
        BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand recognizer = new BarcodeKeyZoneRecognizerCommand();
        recognizer.IsNested = IsNested;
        recognizer.RegionOfInterest = RegionOfInterest;
        recognizer.Settings = Settings.Clone();
        return recognizer;
    }


    /// <summary>
    /// Recognizes key zones in the specified rectangle of the specified image.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="image">The image where key zones must be searched.</param>
    /// <param name="rect">The region of interest on image.</param>
    /// <returns>An array of recognized key zones.</returns>
    protected override Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone[] Recognize(Vintasoft.Imaging.VintasoftImage image, System.Drawing.Rectangle rect)
    {
        Vintasoft.Barcode.BarcodeReader reader = new Vintasoft.Barcode.BarcodeReader();
        reader.Settings = Settings.Clone();
        reader.Settings.ScanRectangle = rect;
        using (System.Drawing.Bitmap bitmap = image.GetAsBitmap())
        {
            Vintasoft.Barcode.IBarcodeInfo[] infos = reader.ReadBarcodes(bitmap);
            Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone[] result = new Vintasoft.Imaging.FormsProcessing.TemplateMatching.KeyZone[infos.Length];
            for (int i = 0; i < infos.Length; i++)
                result[i] = new BarcodeKeyZone(infos[i]);
            return result;
        }
    }

    #endregion

}


Share this article