Traditional watermarking schemes are sensitive to geometric distortions, in which synchronisation for recovering embedded information is a challenging task because of the disorder caused by rotation, scaling or translation (RST). The existing RST-resistant watermarking methods still have limitations with respect to robustness, capacity or fidelity. In this study, the authors address several major problems in RST-invariant watermarking. The first point is how to take advantage of the high RST resilience of scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT) features, which show good performance in terms of RST-resistant pattern recognition. Since many keypoint-based watermarking methods do not discuss cropping attacks, the second issue discussed in this study is how to resist cropping using a human visual system (HVS), which also helps us to eliminate computational complexity. The third issue is the investigation of an HVS-based watermarking strategy for extracting only feature points in the human attentive area. Lastly, a variable-length watermark synchronisation algorithm using dynamic programming is proposed. Experimental results show that the proposed algorithms are practical and show superior performance in comparison with many existing works in terms of watermark capacity, watermark transparency, and the resistance to RST attacks.
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