Contrast enhancement in digital imaging using histogram equalization

Abstract : Nowadays devices are able to capture and process images from complex surveillance monitoring systems or from simple mobile phones. In certain applications, the time necessary to process the image is not as important as the quality of the processed images (e.g., medical imaging), but in other cases the quality can be sacrificed in favour of time. This thesis focuses on the latter case, and proposes two methodologies for fast image contrast enhancement methods. The proposed methods are based on histogram equalization (HE), and some for handling gray-level images and others for handling color images As far as HE methods for gray-level images are concerned, current methods tend to change the mean brightness of the image to the middle level of the gray-level range. This is not desirable in the case of image contrast enhancement for consumer electronics products, where preserving the input brightness of the image is required to avoid the generation of non-existing artifacts in the output image. To overcome this drawback, Bi-histogram equalization methods for both preserving the brightness and contrast enhancement have been proposed. Although these methods preserve the input brightness on the output image with a significant contrast enhancement, they may produce images which do not look as natural as the ones which have been input. In order to overcome this drawback, we propose a technique called Multi-HE, which consists of decomposing the input image into several sub-images, and then applying the classical HE process to each one of them. This methodology performs a less intensive image contrast enhancement, in a way that the output image presented looks more natural. We propose two discrepancy functions for image decomposition which lead to two new Multi-HE methods. A cost function is also used for automatically deciding in how many sub-images the input image will be decomposed on. Experimental results show that our methods are better in preserving the brightness and producing more natural looking images than the other HE methods. In order to deal with contrast enhancement in color images, we introduce a generic fast hue-preserving histogram equalization method based on the RGB color space, and two instances of the proposed generic method. The first instance uses R-red, G-green, and Bblue 1D histograms to estimate a RGB 3D histogram to be equalized, whereas the second instance uses RG, RB, and GB 2D histograms. Histogram equalization is performed using 7 Abstract 8 shift hue-preserving transformations, avoiding the appearance of unrealistic colors. Our methods have linear time and space complexities with respect to the image dimension, and do not require conversions between color spaces in order to perform image contrast enhancement. Objective assessments comparing our methods and others are performed using a contrast measure and color image quality measures, where the quality is established as a weighed function of the naturalness and colorfulness indexes. This is the first work to evaluate histogram equalization methods with a well-known database of 300 images (one dataset from the University of Berkeley) by using measures such as naturalness and colorfulness. Experimental results show that the value of the image contrast produced by our methods is in average 50% greater than the original image value, and still keeping the quality of the output images close to the original
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David Menotti Gomes. Contrast enhancement in digital imaging using histogram equalization. Other [cs.OH]. Université Paris-Est, 2008. English. ⟨NNT : 2008PEST0226⟩. ⟨tel-00470545⟩

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