Retinex Image Processing--Publications--SPIE 4388, Orlando, Florida Conference

The Spatial Aspect of Color and Scientific Implications of Retinex Image Processing

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


Abstract

The history of the spatial aspect of color perception is reviewed in order to lay a foundation for the discussion of retinex image processing. While retinex computations were originally conceived as a model for color constancy in human vision, the impact on local contrast and lightness is even more pronounced than the compensation for changes in the spectral distribution of scene illuminants. In the multiscale retinex with color restoration (MSRCR), the goal of the computation is fidelity to the direct observation of scenes. The primary visual shortcoming of the recorded image is that dark zones such as shadow zones are perceived with much lower contrast and lightness than for the direct viewing of scenes. Extensive development and testing of the MSRCR led us to form several hypotheses about imaging which appear to be basic and general in nature. These are: (1) the linear representation of the image is not usually a good visual representation, (2) retinex image enhancements tend to approach a statistical ideal which suggests the existence of a canonical ``visual image", and (3) the mathematical form of the MSRCR suggests a deterministic definition of visual information which is the log of the spectral and spatial context ratios for any given image. These ideas imply that the imaging process should be thought of, not as a replication process whose goal is minimal distortion, but rather as a profound non-linear transformation process whose goal is a statistical ideal visual representation. These insights suggest new directions for practical advances in bringing higher levels of visual intelligence to the world of computing.
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