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Local Gray Component Replacement Using Image Analysis

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In printing, ink is one of the most important cost factors, which accounts for approximately 25-30% of the cost per page; therefore, reducing ink consumption is of great interest. The traditional approach to this problem is to modify the ICC profile to increase the use of black ink instead of the combination of cyan, yellow, and magenta; this approach is known as the gray component replacement (GCR). While this strategy reduces ink consumption, it often results in visually grainy images in otherwise smooth regions, and is therefore of limited use or even unacceptable for many applications, such as photoprinting.

In this work, we propose a novel, context sensitive and spatially variant GCR method, which yields ink consumption figures that are similar to an aggressive GCR, but in contrast produces perfectly acceptable print quality results. Our approach is based on the visual masking effect: image areas with high activity level, such as high contrast textures, mask the increased graininess, and other inaccuracies such as (small) color shifts. Therefore, we propose to dynamically vary the amount of gray replacement across the image as a function of the local “activity” of the image. In lighter, smoother regions, less aggressive GCR is applied, and the image quality is preserved, while in more active regions where the change is not visible, more aggressive GCR is applied.

The performance of the proposed method is tested on images randomly chosen from several photo collections. The initial results indicate about 15% reduction in overall ink consumption with perfectly acceptable print quality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • CIC is the premier annual technical gathering for scientists, technologists, and engineers working in the areas of color science and systems, and their application to color imaging. Participants represent disciplines ranging from psychophysics, optical physics, image processing, color science to graphic arts, systems engineering, and hardware and software development. While a broad mix of professional interests is the hallmark of these conferences, the focus is color. CICs traditionally offer two days of short courses followed by three days of technical sessions that include three keynotes, an evening lecture, a vibrant interactive (poster) papers session, and workshops. An endearing symbol of the meeting is the Cactus Award, given each year to the author(s) of the best interactive paper; there are also Best Paper and Best Student Paper awards.

    Please note: for Purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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