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Face Image Quality Assessment

15.05.2020 SER-FIQ (CVPR2020) was added.

18.05.2020 Bias in FIQ (IJCB2020) was added.

13.08.2021 The implementation now outputs normalized quality values.

30.11.2021 Related works section was added

SER-FIQ: Unsupervised Estimation of Face Image Quality Based on Stochastic Embedding Robustness

IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2020

Table of Contents


Face image quality is an important factor to enable high-performance face recognition systems. Face quality assessment aims at estimating the suitability of a face image for recognition. Previous works proposed supervised solutions that require artificially or human labelled quality values. However, both labelling mechanisms are error-prone as they do not rely on a clear definition of quality and may not know the best characteristics for the utilized face recognition system. Avoiding the use of inaccurate quality labels, we proposed a novel concept to measure face quality based on an arbitrary face recognition model. By determining the embedding variations generated from random subnetworks of a face model, the robustness of a sample representation and thus, its quality is estimated. The experiments are conducted in a cross-database evaluation setting on three publicly available databases. We compare our proposed solution on two face embeddings against six state-of-the-art approaches from academia and industry. The results show that our unsupervised solution outperforms all other approaches in the majority of the investigated scenarios. In contrast to previous works, the proposed solution shows a stable performance over all scenarios. Utilizing the deployed face recognition model for our face quality assessment methodology avoids the training phase completely and further outperforms all baseline approaches by a large margin. Our solution can be easily integrated into current face recognition systems and can be modified to other tasks beyond face recognition.

Key Points

  • Quality assessment with SER-FIQ is most effective when the quality measure is based on the deployed face recognition network, meaning that the quality estimation and the recognition should be performed on the same network. This way the quality estimation captures the same decision patterns as the face recognition system.
  • To get accurate quality estimations, the underlying face recognition network for SER-FIQ should be trained with dropout. This is suggested since our solution utilizes the robustness against dropout variations as a quality indicator.
  • The provided code is only a demonstration on how SER-FIQ can be utilized. The main contribution of SER-FIQ is the novel concept of measuring face image quality.
  • If the last layer contains dropout, it is sufficient to repeat the stochastic forward passes only on this layer. This significantly reduces the computation time to a time span of a face template generation.


Face image quality assessment results are shown below on LFW (left) and Adience (right). SER-FIQ (same model) is based on ArcFace and shown in red. The plots show the FNMR at \Large 10^{-3} FMR as recommended by the best practice guidelines of the European Border Guard Agency Frontex. For more details and results, please take a look at the paper.


We recommend using a virtual environment to install the required packages. Python 3.7 or 3.8 is recommended. To install them execute

pip install -r requirements.txt

or you can install them manually with the following command:

pip install mxnet-cuXYZ scikit-image scikit-learn opencv-python

Please replace mxnet-cuXYZ with your CUDA version. After the required packages have been installed, download the model files and place them in the



After extracting the model files verify that your installation is working by executing The score of both images should be printed.

The implementation for SER-FIQ based on ArcFace can be found here: Implementation.
In the Paper, this is refered to SER-FIQ (same model) based on ArcFace.

Bias in Face Quality Assessment

The best face quality assessment performance is achieved when the quality assessment solutions build on the templates of the deployed face recognition system. In our work on (Face Quality Estimation and Its Correlation to Demographic and Non-Demographic Bias in Face Recognition), we showed that this lead to a bias transfer from the face recognition system to the quality assessment solution. On all investigated quality assessment approaches, we observed performance differences based on on demographics and non-demographics of the face images.

Related Works

You might be also interested in some of our follow-up works:


If you use this code, please cite the following papers.

  author    = {Philipp Terh{\"{o}}rst and
               Jan Niklas Kolf and
               Naser Damer and
               Florian Kirchbuchner and
               Arjan Kuijper},
  title     = {{SER-FIQ:} Unsupervised Estimation of Face Image Quality Based on
               Stochastic Embedding Robustness},
  booktitle = {2020 {IEEE/CVF} Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition,
               {CVPR} 2020, Seattle, WA, USA, June 13-19, 2020},
  pages     = {5650--5659},
  publisher = {{IEEE}},
  year      = {2020},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.1109/CVPR42600.2020.00569},
  timestamp = {Tue, 11 Aug 2020 16:59:49 +0200},
  biburl    = {},
  bibsource = {dblp computer science bibliography,}
  author    = {Philipp Terh{\"{o}}rst and
               Jan Niklas Kolf and
               Naser Damer and
               Florian Kirchbuchner and
               Arjan Kuijper},
  title     = {Face Quality Estimation and Its Correlation to Demographic and Non-Demographic
               Bias in Face Recognition},
  booktitle = {2020 {IEEE} International Joint Conference on Biometrics, {IJCB} 2020,
               Houston, TX, USA, September 28 - October 1, 2020},
  pages     = {1--11},
  publisher = {{IEEE}},
  year      = {2020},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.1109/IJCB48548.2020.9304865},
  timestamp = {Thu, 14 Jan 2021 15:14:18 +0100},
  biburl    = {},
  bibsource = {dblp computer science bibliography,}

If you make use of our SER-FIQ implementation based on ArcFace, please additionally cite the original ArcFace module.


This research work has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts within their joint support of the National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity ATHENE.


This project is licensed under the terms of the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. Copyright (c) 2020 Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD Darmstadt

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