Simple Digit Recognition OCR in OpenCV-Python

The Question :

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I am trying to implement a “Digit Recognition OCR” in OpenCV-Python (cv2). It is just for learning purposes. I would like to learn both KNearest and SVM features in OpenCV.

I have 100 samples (i.e. images) of each digit. I would like to train with them.

There is a sample that comes with OpenCV sample. But I still couldn’t figure out on how to use it. I don’t understand what are the samples, responses etc. Also, it loads a txt file at first, which I didn’t understand first.

Later on searching a little bit, I could find a in cpp samples. I used it and made a code for cv2.KNearest in the model of (just for testing):

import numpy as np
import cv2

fn = ''
a = np.loadtxt(fn, np.float32, delimiter=',', converters={ 0 : lambda ch : ord(ch)-ord('A') })
samples, responses = a[:,1:], a[:,0]

model = cv2.KNearest()
retval = model.train(samples,responses)
retval, results, neigh_resp, dists = model.find_nearest(samples, k = 10)
print results.ravel()

It gave me an array of size 20000, I don’t understand what it is.


1) What is file? How to build that file from my own data set?

2) What does results.reval() denote?

3) How we can write a simple digit recognition tool using file (either KNearest or SVM)?

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

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Well, I decided to workout myself on my question to solve above problem. What I wanted is to implement a simpl OCR using KNearest or SVM features in OpenCV. And below is what I did and how. ( it is just for learning how to use KNearest for simple OCR purposes).

1) My first question was about file that comes with OpenCV samples. I wanted to know what is inside that file.

It contains a letter, along with 16 features of that letter.

And this SOF helped me to find it. These 16 features are explained in the paperLetter Recognition Using Holland-Style Adaptive Classifiers. ( Although I didn’t understand some of the features at end)

2) Since I knew, without understanding all those features, it is difficult to do that method. I tried some other papers, but all were a little difficult for a beginner.

So I just decided to take all the pixel values as my features. (I was not worried about accuracy or performance, I just wanted it to work, at least with the least accuracy)

I took below image for my training data:

enter image description here

( I know the amount of training data is less. But, since all letters are of same font and size, I decided to try on this).

To prepare the data for training, I made a small code in OpenCV. It does following things:

  1. It loads the image.
  2. Selects the digits ( obviously by contour finding and applying constraints on area and height of letters to avoid false detections).
  3. Draws the bounding rectangle around one letter and wait for key press manually. This time we press the digit key ourselves corresponding to the letter in box.
  4. Once corresponding digit key is pressed, it resizes this box to 10×10 and saves 100 pixel values in an array (here, samples) and corresponding manually entered digit in another array(here, responses).
  5. Then save both the arrays in separate txt files.

At the end of manual classification of digits, all the digits in the train data( train.png) are labeled manually by ourselves, image will look like below:

enter image description here

Below is the code I used for above purpose ( of course, not so clean):

import sys

import numpy as np
import cv2

im = cv2.imread('pitrain.png')
im3 = im.copy()

gray = cv2.cvtColor(im,cv2.COLOR_BGR2GRAY)
blur = cv2.GaussianBlur(gray,(5,5),0)
thresh = cv2.adaptiveThreshold(blur,255,1,1,11,2)

#################      Now finding Contours         ###################

contours,hierarchy = cv2.findContours(thresh,cv2.RETR_LIST,cv2.CHAIN_APPROX_SIMPLE)

samples =  np.empty((0,100))
responses = []
keys = [i for i in range(48,58)]

for cnt in contours:
    if cv2.contourArea(cnt)>50:
        [x,y,w,h] = cv2.boundingRect(cnt)

        if  h>28:
            roi = thresh[y:y+h,x:x+w]
            roismall = cv2.resize(roi,(10,10))
            key = cv2.waitKey(0)

            if key == 27:  # (escape to quit)
            elif key in keys:
                sample = roismall.reshape((1,100))
                samples = np.append(samples,sample,0)

responses = np.array(responses,np.float32)
responses = responses.reshape((responses.size,1))
print "training complete"


Now we enter in to training and testing part.

For testing part I used below image, which has same type of letters I used to train.

enter image description here

For training we do as follows:

  1. Load the txt files we already saved earlier
  2. create a instance of classifier we are using ( here, it is KNearest)
  3. Then we use KNearest.train function to train the data

For testing purposes, we do as follows:

  1. We load the image used for testing
  2. process the image as earlier and extract each digit using contour methods
  3. Draw bounding box for it, then resize to 10×10, and store its pixel values in an array as done earlier.
  4. Then we use KNearest.find_nearest() function to find the nearest item to the one we gave. ( If lucky, it recognises the correct digit.)

I included last two steps ( training and testing) in single code below:

import cv2
import numpy as np

#######   training part    ############### 
samples = np.loadtxt('',np.float32)
responses = np.loadtxt('',np.float32)
responses = responses.reshape((responses.size,1))

model = cv2.KNearest()

############################# testing part  #########################

im = cv2.imread('pi.png')
out = np.zeros(im.shape,np.uint8)
gray = cv2.cvtColor(im,cv2.COLOR_BGR2GRAY)
thresh = cv2.adaptiveThreshold(gray,255,1,1,11,2)

contours,hierarchy = cv2.findContours(thresh,cv2.RETR_LIST,cv2.CHAIN_APPROX_SIMPLE)

for cnt in contours:
    if cv2.contourArea(cnt)>50:
        [x,y,w,h] = cv2.boundingRect(cnt)
        if  h>28:
            roi = thresh[y:y+h,x:x+w]
            roismall = cv2.resize(roi,(10,10))
            roismall = roismall.reshape((1,100))
            roismall = np.float32(roismall)
            retval, results, neigh_resp, dists = model.find_nearest(roismall, k = 1)
            string = str(int((results[0][0])))


And it worked, below is the result I got:

enter image description here

Here it worked with 100% accuracy. I assume this is because all the digits are of same kind and same size.

But any way, this is a good start to go for beginners ( I hope so).

The Answer 2

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For those who interested in C++ code can refer below code. Thanks Abid Rahman for the nice explanation.

The procedure is same as above but, the contour finding uses only first hierarchy level contour, so that the algorithm uses only outer contour for each digit.

Code for creating sample and Label data

//Process image to extract contour
Mat thr,gray,con;
Mat src=imread("digit.png",1);
threshold(gray,thr,200,255,THRESH_BINARY_INV); //Threshold to find contour

// Create sample and label data
vector< vector <Point> > contours; // Vector for storing contour
vector< Vec4i > hierarchy;
Mat sample;
Mat response_array;  
findContours( con, contours, hierarchy,CV_RETR_CCOMP, CV_CHAIN_APPROX_SIMPLE ); //Find contour

for( int i = 0; i< contours.size(); i=hierarchy[i][0] ) // iterate through first hierarchy level contours
    Rect r= boundingRect(contours[i]); //Find bounding rect for each contour
    rectangle(src,Point(r.x,r.y), Point(r.x+r.width,r.y+r.height), Scalar(0,0,255),2,8,0);
    Mat ROI = thr(r); //Crop the image
    Mat tmp1, tmp2;
    resize(ROI,tmp1, Size(10,10), 0,0,INTER_LINEAR ); //resize to 10X10
    tmp1.convertTo(tmp2,CV_32FC1); //convert to float
    sample.push_back(tmp2.reshape(1,1)); // Store  sample data
    int c=waitKey(0); // Read corresponding label for contour from keyoard
    c-=0x30;     // Convert ascii to intiger value
    response_array.push_back(c); // Store label to a mat
    rectangle(src,Point(r.x,r.y), Point(r.x+r.width,r.y+r.height), Scalar(0,255,0),2,8,0);    

// Store the data to file
Mat response,tmp;
tmp=response_array.reshape(1,1); //make continuous
tmp.convertTo(response,CV_32FC1); // Convert  to float

FileStorage Data("TrainingData.yml",FileStorage::WRITE); // Store the sample data in a file
Data << "data" << sample;

FileStorage Label("LabelData.yml",FileStorage::WRITE); // Store the label data in a file
Label << "label" << response;
cout<<"Training and Label data created successfully....!! "<<endl;


Code for training and testing

Mat thr,gray,con;
Mat src=imread("dig.png",1);
threshold(gray,thr,200,255,THRESH_BINARY_INV); // Threshold to create input

// Read stored sample and label for training
Mat sample;
Mat response,tmp;
FileStorage Data("TrainingData.yml",FileStorage::READ); // Read traing data to a Mat
Data["data"] >> sample;

FileStorage Label("LabelData.yml",FileStorage::READ); // Read label data to a Mat
Label["label"] >> response;

KNearest knn;
knn.train(sample,response); // Train with sample and responses
cout<<"Training compleated.....!!"<<endl;

vector< vector <Point> > contours; // Vector for storing contour
vector< Vec4i > hierarchy;

//Create input sample by contour finding and cropping
findContours( con, contours, hierarchy,CV_RETR_CCOMP, CV_CHAIN_APPROX_SIMPLE );
Mat dst(src.rows,src.cols,CV_8UC3,Scalar::all(0));

for( int i = 0; i< contours.size(); i=hierarchy[i][0] ) // iterate through each contour for first hierarchy level .
    Rect r= boundingRect(contours[i]);
    Mat ROI = thr(r);
    Mat tmp1, tmp2;
    resize(ROI,tmp1, Size(10,10), 0,0,INTER_LINEAR );
    float p=knn.find_nearest(tmp2.reshape(1,1), 1);
    char name[4];
    putText( dst,name,Point(r.x,r.y+r.height) ,0,1, Scalar(0, 255, 0), 2, 8 );



In the result the dot in the first line is detected as 8 and we haven’t trained for dot. Also I am considering every contour in first hierarchy level as the sample input, user can avoid it by computing the area.


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