Image registration comparative analysis: normalized correlation versus SIFT-based registration


  • V.A. Dushepa Національний аерокосмічний університет ім. М. Є. Жуковського «Харківський авіаційний інститут»
  • Y.A. Tiahnyriadno Національний аерокосмічний університет ім. М. Є. Жуковського «Харківський авіаційний інститут»
  • I.V. Baryshev Національний аерокосмічний університет ім. М. Є. Жуковського «Харківський авіаційний інститут»



image registration algorithms, normalized correlation, SIFT, python, OpenCV


The paper compares the image registration algorithms: the classical normalized correlation (as a representative of intensity-based algorithms) and the SIFT-based algorithm (feature-based registration). A gradient subpixel correction algorithm was also used for normalized correlation. We compared the effectiveness of their work on real images (including a terrain map) when modeling artificial distortions. The accuracy of determining the position (shift) of one image relative to another in the presence of rotation and scale changes was studied. The experiment was carried out using a simulation model created in the Python programming language using the OpenCV computer vision library.

The results of the experiments show that in the absence of rotation and scale changes between the registered images the normalized correlation provides a slightly smaller root-mean-square error. At the same time, if there are even small such distortions, for example, a rotation of more than 2 degrees and a scale change of more than 2 percent, the probability of correct registration for the normalized correlation drops sharply. It was also noted that the advantages of normalized correlation are almost 5 times higher speed and the possibility of using it for small fragments (50x50 or less), where it is problematic for the SIFT algorithm to allocate a sufficient number of keypoints.

It was also shown that the use of a two-stage algorithm (SIFT-based registration at the first stage, and optimization with normalized correlation as a criterion at the second) allows you to get both high accuracy and stability to rotation and scale change, but this will be accompanied by high computational costs.


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How to Cite

Dushepa, V., Tiahnyriadno, Y., & Baryshev, I. (2020). Image registration comparative analysis: normalized correlation versus SIFT-based registration. Radiotekhnika, 4(203), 191–196.