Feature Extraction in Image Processing: Image Feature Extraction in ML


In today’s data-driven world, an overwhelming amount of information is generated visually. Visual data has become universal, from images captured by surveillance cameras to medical scans. This abundance of visual data presents a unique opportunity to extract valuable insights and knowledge from images. However, leveraging this data effectively requires processing and understanding the visual content within these images.

Feature extraction in image processing becomes even more critical in such a scenario as it enables machines to interpret the rich information embedded in visual data. By transforming raw pixel data into meaningful representations, feature extraction empowers various machine learning algorithms to analyze and interpret images, leading to advancements in computer vision and a wide range of applications.

Understanding and learning feature extraction techniques can open new avenues for extracting valuable insights, improving accuracy, and enhancing the performance of machine learning models in diverse visual data-driven tasks. In this blog, we will explore what feature extraction is in image processing, its usefulness, and its applications.

What is Feature Extraction in Image Processing?

Feature extraction is a part of feature engineering. Data scientists use dimensionality reduction to convert the initial raw data set into smaller, more manageable groups. Feature extraction in image processing involves identifying and extracting relevant patterns, structures, or characteristics from raw image data in a more compact and meaningful manner.

It transforms high-dimensional pixel information into a set of descriptive features. Feature extraction in image processing makes computer vision and machine learning algorithms more accurate and efficient because it enables them to analyze and interpret the visual content of the images easily.

Feature extraction in image processing helps computer vision tasks to extract relevant features from images. It can improve performance, reduce computational complexity, and increase the interpretability of computer vision algorithms.

Learn more about this via MS in Full Stack AI and ML. 

Why Feature Extraction is Useful?

Learning feature extraction in image processing can help you in reducing computational complexity, better interpretation of data, and improve performance, as it is useful for several reasons:

  • Dimensionality Reduction: Image feature extraction reduces the data’s dimensionality and makes it easier for the algorithm to learn the patterns relevant to the task.
  • Reduced Computational Complexity: Feature extraction reduces the computational complexity of computer vision algorithms by converting the raw image data into a more compact representation. It can remove redundant or irrelevant data to make the raw image data more compact and meaningful.
  • Improved Performance: It enhances the performance of computer vision algorithms by making them more accurate and efficient. It improves machine learning algorithms’ efficiency, performance, and generalization capabilities.  
  • Pattern Recognition: Deep learning models learn hierarchical features to recognize complex patterns and capture intricate relationships within images. It results in improved pattern recognition capabilities.

Enroll for the Machine Learning Course from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career.

What are the Applications of Feature Extraction in Deep Learning?

Data scientists apply feature extraction across various domains in deep learning. Some of the key applications include:

  • Image Processing: It transforms raw pixel data from images into meaningful and informative representations. It detects features in digital images, like shapes, motions, and edges. After identifying these features, deep learning algorithms can process the data to perform various tasks related to image analysis.
  • Image Classification: It converts raw pixel data into meaningful and informative representations. The learned features are then used as input to deep learning models.
  • Object Detection: Feature extraction in image processing is also used in object detection to improve the algorithm’s performance. It helps identify key visual patterns within an image corresponding to objects of interest.
  • Image Segmentation: It helps to identify the different regions in an image. Image segmentation helps capture relevant patterns, edges, textures, and other distinctive features that help distinguish different regions within an image.
  • Autoencoders: The purpose of autoencoders is to code data and efficiently reduce the noise present in data. The input data is compressed and encoded through autoencoding, then the output is reconstructed accordingly. Autoencoding reduces the data’s dimensionality and enables focus on the crucial parts of the input.
  • Bag of Words: It extracts the words from a sentence, document, or website and categorizes them based on how often they are used. The bag of words technique enables computers to understand, analyze, and generate human language.
  • Medical Imaging: Feature extraction is used to analyze various types of scans, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans in medical imaging. Extracted features help detect anomalies, identify diseases, and predict patient outcomes.
  • Face Recognition: Feature extraction in image processing plays a crucial role in face recognition systems as it encodes distinctive facial features. Deep learning models use these features for face recognition for matching and identifying faces in images or videos.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): In NLP, feature extraction is applied to text data to represent words or sentences in a numerical format.

How to Store Images in the Machine?

Images are saved in machines as a matrix of numbers. The number of pixels in an image determines the matrix size. For example, an image with dimensions 180 x 200 has a matrix of size 180 x 200, or 36,000 numbers.

These numbers or pixel values denote the intensity or brightness of the pixel. Black is represented by smaller numbers near zero, while white is represented by larger numbers closer to 255.

Red, green, and blue are three matrices that store colored images. Each matrix holds values between 0 and 255, showing the color’s intensity for that pixel. These channels combine to create the final colored image. You can use Python to load and visualize images in matrix form using libraries like pandas, numpy, matplotlib, and skimage.

 Check out upGrad’s free courses on AI.

How to use Machine Learning Feature Extraction Technique for Image Data? Features as Grayscale Pixel Values

You can convert images into feature vectors by using machine-learning feature extraction techniques. Each pixel’s value can be used as a feature to create a one-dimensional feature vector for grayscale images. However, the pixel values of the red, green, and blue channels can be concatenated to form a three-dimensional feature vector for colored images. For machine learning algorithms, you can convert the three-dimensional vectors into a one-dimensional feature vector. The raw pixel values can be used as separate features to create features from an image.

How to Extract Features from Image Data: What is the Mean Pixel Value of Channels

A channel’s mean pixel value is the average of all the pixel values in that channel. It can be used to extract features for colored images. You can create a feature vector by appending the mean pixel values one after the other after calculating each channel’s mean pixel value. The number of features in the vector will be equal to the number of channels in the image.

Understand the deeper compatibility with the Advanced Certificate Program in GenerativeAI

Project Using Feature Extraction Technique

Projects using feature extraction techniques in image processing have various applications, such as image classification, object detection, facial recognition, and more. Machine learning models can effectively analyze and interpret visual information for various tasks by extracting meaningful features from images. These projects typically involve preprocessing images, extracting relevant features, and training machine learning models on the extracted features.

Top Machine Learning and AI Courses Online

CNN Image Feature Detection using OpenCV

The OpenCV library is mainly used for detecting image features in computer vision applications. Its functions include edge detection, image thresholding, and color space conversion (such as RGB to grayscale or HSV). Additionally, it allows for image rotation and other abilities. These techniques help prepare images and identify important features that can be used in machine-learning algorithms for different image-based applications.

CNN feature extraction involves installing OpenCV and TensorFlow, preparing and preprocessing the image dataset, building a CNN model for feature extraction with TensorFlow, training the CNN on the labeled dataset, using the trained CNN to extract features from new images, visualizing the detected features using OpenCV, and evaluating the performance in case the ground truth labels are available. This process enables efficient and accurate detection of important image patterns and features, making it suitable for various computer vision tasks.

In-demand Machine Learning Skills


Feature extraction is a fundamental process in image processing and machine learning. It enables us to represent complex visual data more manageable and meaningfully, leading to improved model performance and a wide range of applications. It is a vital tool for understanding and interpreting visual information.


What are the commonly used feature extraction techniques in image processing?

Some commonly used feature extraction techniques in image processing are grayscale pixel values as features, the mean pixel value of channels, and extracting edge features. Apart from these techniques, you can also use techniques such as histogram of oriented gradients, scale-invariant feature transform, speeded-up robust features, local binary patterns, Gabor filters, convolutional neural networks, histogram of intensity gradients, histogram of face congruency, auto-encoders, and local self-similarity to extract features from images.

What is the role of feature extraction in deep learning algorithms for image processing?

Feature extraction plays a crucial role in deep learning algorithms for image processing. It transforms the raw image data into a more compact and meaningful representation that the deep learning algorithm can use. Feature extraction in deep learning reduces the dimensionality of images, captures informative patterns, and enhances the model's ability to generalize and perform well on new data.

What is the Histogram of Oriented Gradients (HOG) feature extraction concept in image processing?

Histogram of Oriented Gradients or HOG feature extraction is a feature descriptor for object detection. It calculates the distribution of gradient orientations in an image. The distribution is then used to create a feature vector that you can use to train a machine-learning model to detect objects.

Want to share this article?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Popular Machine Learning Course

Get Free Consultation

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Free career counselling from upGrad experts!
Book a session with an industry professional today!
No Thanks
Let's do it
Get Free career counselling from upGrad experts!
Book a Session with an industry professional today!
Let's do it
No Thanks