Dynamic Range Independent Image Quality Assessment
To appear in: ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. of SIGGRAPH'08)
Quality assessment of an LDR image (left), generated by tone-mapping the reference HDR (center) using Pattanaik’s tone-mapping operator. Our metric detects loss of visible contrast (green) and contrast reversal (red), visualized as an in-context distortion map (right).
The diversity of display technologies and introduction of high dynamic range imagery introduces the necessity of comparing images of radically different dynamic ranges. Current quality assessment metrics are not suitable for this task, as they assume that both reference and test images have the same dynamic range. Image fidelity measures employed by a majority of current metrics, based on the difference of pixel intensity or contrast values between test and reference images, result in meaningless predictions if this assumption does not hold. We present a novel image quality metric capable of operating on an image pair where both images have arbitrary dynamic ranges. Our metric utilizes a model of the human visual system, and its central idea is a new definition of visible distortion based on the detection and classification of visible changes in the image structure. Our metric is carefully calibrated and its performance is validated through perceptual experiments. We demonstrate possible applications of our metric to the evaluation of direct and inverse tone mapping operators as well as the analysis of the image appearance on displays with various characteristics.
Data flow diagram of our metric.