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Noise characteristics of a single sensor camera in digital color image processing

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Denoising algorithms are usually tested on standard test images with artificial white Gaussian noise added. This noise model cannot be applied in the denoising of digital images taken with a single sensor camera because of the signal-dependence of the noise, the demosaicking and the color transformations. We study the noise characteristics with respect to the signal domain. Noise distribution and variance are measured in the raw data and approximated using a Gaussian distribution with a variance linearly dependent on the signal. We evaluate the influence of white balance, debayering and the signal domain and calculate the spatial correlation of the noise. In our experiments we both evaluate the influence of the noise characteristics on human perception and on the performance of denoising methods. Based on a subjective test with 18 participants we can show that the spatially correlated camera noise is more visible than the white Gaussian noise and decreases the visual quality of color image sequences significantly. To evaluate the impact of the noise characteristic on denoising, two state-of-the-art denoising methods are applied to our test data. When the noise is signal-dependent and spatially correlated through debayering the peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) decreases by up to 8 dB. We conclude that it is very important to take into account the correct noise characteristics for increasing the visual quality of color image sequences in future research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 3, 2014

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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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