Special Section on Quality Control by Artificial Vision: Nonconventional Imaging Systems

Real-time visualization of low contrast targets from high-dynamic range infrared images based on temporal digital detail enhancement filter

[+] Author Affiliations
Frederic Garcia, Cedric Schockaert, Bruno Mirbach

IEE S.A., PTU Optical, 11, rue Edmond Reuter, Contern L-5326, Luxembourg

J. Electron. Imaging. 24(6), 061103 (Sep 21, 2015). doi:10.1117/1.JEI.24.6.061103
History: Received June 1, 2015; Accepted August 11, 2015
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Abstract.  An image detail enhancement method to effectively visualize low contrast targets in high-dynamic range (HDR) infrared (IR) images is presented regardless of the dynamic range width. In general, high temperature dynamics from real-world scenes used to be encoded in a 12 or 14 bits IR image. However, the limitations of the human visual perception, from which no more than 128 shades of gray are distinguishable, and the 8-bit working range of common display devices make necessary an effective 12/14bits HDR mapping into the 8-bit data representation. To do so, we propose to independently treat the base and detail image components that result from splitting the IR image using two dedicated guided filters. We also introduce a plausibility mask from which those regions that are prominent to present noise are accurately defined to be explicitly tackled to avoid noise amplification. The final 8-bit data representation results from the combination of the processed detail and base image components and its mapping to the 8-bit domain using an adaptive histogram-based projection approach. The limits of the histogram are accommodated through time in order to avoid global brightness fluctuations between frames. The experimental evaluation shows that the proposed noise-aware approach preserves low contrast details with an overall contrast enhancement of the image. A comparison with widely used HDR mapping approaches and runtime analysis is also provided. Furthermore, the proposed mathematical formulation enables a real-time adjustment of the global contrast and brightness, letting the operator adapt to the visualization display device without nondesirable artifacts.

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Citation

Frederic Garcia ; Cedric Schockaert and Bruno Mirbach
"Real-time visualization of low contrast targets from high-dynamic range infrared images based on temporal digital detail enhancement filter", J. Electron. Imaging. 24(6), 061103 (Sep 21, 2015). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JEI.24.6.061103


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