In image clustering, it is desired that pixels assigned in the same class must be the same or similar. In other words, the homogeneity of a cluster must be high. In gray scale image segmentation, the specified goal is achieved by increasing the number of thresholds. However, the determination of multiple thresholds is a typical issue. Moreover, the conventional thresholding algorithms could not be used in color image segmentation. In this study, a new color image clustering algorithm with multilevel thresholding has been presented and, it has been shown how to use the multilevel thresholding techniques for color image clustering. Thus, initially, threshold selection techniques such as the Otsu and Kapur methods were employed for each color channel separately. The objective functions of both approaches have been integrated with the forest optimization algorithm (FOA) and particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm. In the next stage, thresholds determined by optimization algorithms were used to divide color space into small cubes or prisms. Each sub-cube or prism created in the color space was evaluated as a cluster. As the volume of prisms affects the homogeneity of the clusters created, multiple thresholds were employed to reduce the sizes of the sub-cubes. The performance of the proposed method was tested with different images. It was observed that the results obtained were more efficient than conventional methods.
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