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Digital Image Improvement by Adding Noise: An Example by a Professional Photographer

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To overcome shortcomings of digital images or to reproduce traditional film grains, some photographers add noise to digital image. In an effort to find a factor of preferable noise, the authors analyzed how a professional photographer introduces noise into black-and-white images and found two characteristics: (1) There is more noise in midtones than in highlights and shadows and (2) histograms in highlights are skewed toward shadows, and vice versa, while almost symmetrical in midtones. The authors also found that by approximating the symmetrical histograms by a Gaussian distribution and skewed ones by a chi-squared distribution, the noise could be reproduced to an extent that well satisfies the professional. Comparison of professional's noise to film grain showed that they have the following in common: (1) more noise in midtones but almost none in brightest and darkest region and (2) asymmetrical histograms in highlights and shadows. The authors think that these characteristics might be candidates for "good" noise" that allows simulation of traditional film photography.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Graduate School of Advanced Integration Science, Chiba University, Yayoicho 1-33, Inage-ku, Chiba, Japan

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of Imaging Science and Technology (JIST) is dedicated to the advancement of imaging science knowledge, the practical applications of such knowledge, and how imaging science relates to other fields of study. The pages of this journal are open to reports of new theoretical or experimental results, and to comprehensive reviews. Only original manuscripts that have not been previously published, nor currently submitted for publication elsewhere, should be submitted.

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