Retinex Image Processing--Publications--SPIE 2847, Denver, Colorado Conference

A Multiscale Retinex For Color Rendition and Dynamic Range Compression

Zia-ur Rahman, Daniel J. Jobson and, Glenn A. Woodell


The human vision system performs the tasks of dynamic range compression and color constancy almost effortlessly. The same tasks pose a very challenging problem for imaging systems whose dynamic range is restricted by either the dynamic response of film, in case of analog cameras, or by the analog-to-digital converters, in the case of digital cameras. The images thus formed are unable to encompass the wide dynamic range present in most natural scenes (often > 500:1). Whereas the human visual system is quite tolerant to spectral changes in lighting conditions, these strongly affect both the film response for analog cameras and the filter responses for digital cameras, leading to incorrect color formulation in the acquired image. Our multiscale retinex, based in part on Edwin Land's work on color constancy, provides a fast, simple, and automatic technique for simultaneous dynamic range compression and accurate color rendition. The retinex algorithm is non-linear, and global---output at a point is also a function of its surround---in extent. A comparison with conventional dynamic range compression techniques such as the application of point non-linearities, e.g. log(x,y), and global histogram equalization and/or modification shows that the multiscale retinex simultaneously provides the best dynamic range compression and color rendition. The applications of such an algorithm are many; from medical imaging to remote sensing; and from commercial photography to color transmission.
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