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Open Access Bridging the Gap Between Imaging Performance and Image Quality Measures

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Imaging system performance measures and Image Quality Metrics (IQM) are reviewed from a systems engineering perspective, focusing on spatial quality of still image capture systems. We classify IQMs broadly as: Computational IQMs (CP-IQM), Multivariate Formalism IQMs (MF-IQM), Image Fidelity Metrics (IF-IQM), and Signal Transfer Visual IQMs (STV-IQM). Comparison of each genre finds STV-IQMs well suited for capture system quality evaluation: they incorporate performance measures relevant to optical systems design, such as Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) and Noise-Power Spectrum (NPS); their bottom-up, modular approach enables system components to be optimized separately. We suggest that correlation between STV-IQMs and observer quality scores is limited by three factors: current MTF and NPS measures do not characterize scene-dependent performance introduced by imaging system non-linearities; contrast sensitivity models employed do not account for contextual masking effects; cognitive factors are not considered. We hypothesize that implementation of scene and process-dependent MTF (SPD-MTF) and NPS (SPD-NPS) measures should mitigate errors originating from scene dependent system performance. Further, we propose implementation of contextual contrast detection and discrimination models to better represent low-level visual performance in image quality analysis. Finally, we discuss image quality optimization functions that may potentially close the gap between contrast detection/discrimination and quality.

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Keywords: CSF; IMAGE QUALITY; IMAGE QUALITY METRIC; MTF; NEQ; NPS; SCENE-DEPENDENCE; SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 13, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Bridging the gap between imaging performance and image quality measures".

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  • For more than 30 years, the Electronic Imaging Symposium has been serving those in the broad community - from academia and industry - who work on imaging science and digital technologies. The breadth of the Symposium covers the entire imaging science ecosystem, from capture (sensors, camera) through image processing (image quality, color and appearance) to how we and our surrogate machines see and interpret images. Applications covered include augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, data analysis, digital and mobile photography, security, virtual reality, and human vision. IS&T began sole sponsorship of the meeting in 2016. All papers presented at EIs 20+ conferences are open access.

    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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