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London, Ontario, Canada

fjhqin, elsakka}@csd.uwo.ca

ABSTRACT

Contrast enhancement is usually achieved by histogram

equalizing image pixel gray-levels in the spatial domain to

redistribute them uniformly. Meanwhile, edge enhancement

attempts to emphasize the fine details in the original image. But

in the spatial domain it is hard to selectively enhance details at

different scales. Moreover, in the spatial domain, applying

contrast and edge enhancement techniques in different orders

may yield different enhancement results. To overcome the

above spatial domain enhancement issues, a new wavelet-based

image enhancement method is proposed. The proposed method

histogram-equalizes the approximation-coefficiend.

At the same

time, it high-boost filters the detail-coefficients at selected

resolution levels separately. The experiments show that utilizing

the proposed method can achieve robust contrast and edge

enhancement. Moreover, the computation cost in the wavelet

domain is less than that in the spatial domain. This is especially

b-ue when considering that currently most images are already

wavelet-compressed (the current JPEG 2000 standard is a

wavelet based scheme).

INTRODUCTION

In this research we focus on contrast and edge enhancement

issues [1][2]. Contrast enhancement, in general, is achieved by

1.

histogram of an image usually provides a way to determine

which particular gray scale transformation is required to

enhance the image contrast. Histogram equalization (HEQ) is

one ofthc most useful contrast enhancement schemes. When an

image's histogram is equalized, image pixel values are mapped

to uniformly distributed pixel values, as much as possible.

However, afier applying the HEQ technique to an image in the

spatial domain, multiple gray-levels in the image could be

merged into one level. This results in a loss of small details afier

performing the HEQ procedure.[3][4].

Edge enhancement attempts to emphasize edges, or details, in a

given image. Mask convolution is a commonly used technique

for enhancing edges [2][5]. But in the spatial domain, it is hard

to selectively enhance details at different scales.

Moreover, in the spatial domain, applying contrast and edge

enhancement techniques in different orders may yield different

enhancement results.

Ideally, if we can decompose an image into several components

in multiple resolution levels, where low-pass and high-pass

information are kept separately, then we can enhance the image

contrast without disturbing any details. At the same time, we

can also emphasize image detail, at a desired resolution level,

without disturbing the rest of the image information. Finally, by

adding the enhanced components together, we should get a more

'

is irrelevant, since we are dealing with separate components.

The wavelet transform framework provides an opportunity to

achieve these tasks. It provides multiple resolution

representations of a given image, each of which highlights

scale-specific image features [6][7]. Since features in those

wavelet-transformed components remain localized in space,

many spatial domain image enhancement techniques can be

adopted for the wavelet domain.

In this research, a new wavelet-based image enhancement

method is proposed [SI. The proposed enhancement method

consists of two parts. One part is to enhance the image contrast.

The contrast enhancement is achieved by histogram equalizing

the

wavelet

approximation-co~~cienis, which

are

corresponding to the low-pass information of a given image.

The other part is to enhance the image details at a desired

resolution level. This enhancement is achieved by high-boost

filtering (HBF) [2] the wavelet detail-coeflcients, which are

corresponding to the detail information of a given image.

2.

LITERATURE REVIEWS

wavelet domain, rather than in the spatial domain, to benefit

from the multiple-resolution nature of the wavelet domain.

Chen et al. [9] globally shiRed the intensity value in the

approximation-coefficients to achieve contrast enhancement.

But they didn't provide an efficient way to decide the size of the

shifiing step. They also established a zero-crossing tree, which

consists of zero-crossings of each companent in multipleresolution levels, to represent multiple-resolution edges that are

used to suppress noise.

Fu et al. [3] analyzed the drawback of the HEQ procedure in the

spatial domain. Then they proposed a wavelet-based contrast

enhancement method. In their method, afier performing the

HEQ procedure in the spatial domain, the output image was

transformed into the wavelet domain. Then all approximationcoefficients were squared. They claimed that the proposed

process could compensate for the information that was lost

during the HEQ process.

Reeves et al. [41 investigated a wavelet transform domain filter,

based on the LLMMSE filter [IO] to suppress noise and enhance

edges. They also applied global HEQ to the wavelet

approximation-coefficients at the coarsest decomposition level

to enhance contrast. But further investigation was required in

order to understanding how the selection of the approximationcoefficients' range and histogram bin values affects the

reconstructed image.

Xu et al. [I I] used a wavelet phase filter [I21 at finer scales in

the wavelet domain to reduce noise, and a semi-sotl wavelet

111 - 397

to further reduce noise. But the proposed method still could not

automatically adjust its parameters to achieve optimal result.

There are some other image enhancement attempts. For

example, Gong et al. [I41 rationally enlarged coefficients on

multiple scales in the wavelet domain. Xu et al. [I51 altered the

amplitude o f coefficients in the wavelet domain. And Peng et al.

[I61 used a non-linear enhancement operator on coefficients at

multi-scale in the wavelet domain. However. these attempts

aimed at improving only image contrast.

3. PROPOSED WORK

The proposed enhancement method [a] consists of two parts.

One part is to enhance the image contrast, which i s achieved by

histogram equalizing the wavelet approximation-coefficients.

The other part i s to enhance the image details at a desired

resolution level, which is achieved by high-boost filtering the

wavelet detail-coefficients. Fig. I shows the framework of the

proposed scheme.

It is worth mentioning that the implementation of the HEQ

method in the wavelet domain is a little hit different from that in

the spatial domain. This i s because wavelet transformed

coefficients are floating point numbers. Moreover, some of them

are possibly negative. Choosing an appropriate range o f

coefficient values and setting of bins thresholds for HEQ in the

wavelet domain is not an easy task.

We suggest a new way to implement HEQ in the wavelet

domain. First, all coeficients are casted into integer values. The

histogram is then built based on those integer values.just like in

the spatial domain. Second, to equalize this wavelet domain

histogram, a procedure which is simillar to the spatial domain

HEQ is used. Finally, after calculating the difference of each

casted integer value' before and aAer equalization, the final

mapped value of each original coefficient is obtained by adding

the difference to each original coefficient.

Note that, if the original image does not use most of the

available dynamic range, the transformed coefficients will not

use most o f their dynamic range either. Therefore the coefficient

value range over which the HEQ is performed in the wavelet

doamin could he expanded beyond the current range to achieve

a better contrast enhancement result. But the expanded range

should not exceed the boundary values of this component,

otherwise, some artifacts may he introduced to the resulting

image.

4. EXPERIMENT RESULTS

In the proposed method, there are various parameters in each of

the three major functions (wavelet transform, HEQ and HBF in

the wavelet domain functions) that need to he adjusted.

Different parameter selections will affect the enhancement

result. The final parameter selections are based on the following

research results.

4.1. Experimental setup

In this research, the proposed method is tested on many images,

which have various characteristics. In order to accommodate the

size constraints o f this paper, the Lenna image has been chosen

to demonstrate our results. The Lenna image contains a nice

good job o f testing various image enhancement algorithms.

The purpose o f this function is to perform a forwardinverse

wavelet transform on a given image. After applying a forward

wavelet transform, the given image is decomposed into several

components i o multi-resolution. Note that, using different

wavelet filter Sets andlor different number of transform-levels

will result in differenl decomposition results.

While any wavelet-filters can he used with the proposed

scheme. we restricted our experimentation to the one-level Haar

wavelet-filter, to limit the scope of this research and to focus on

the proposed method only. We left testing the proposed method

on various wavelet filter sets and multiple wavelet levels as a

future work.

4.3. H E Q Function

When applying HEQ in the spatial domain, some small details

may be eliminated after HEQ. A I D signal example has been

given in Fig2 to show the lost information after applying the

HEQ procedure in the spatial domain. For example, compare

signal A (the original I D signal) and signal B (the signal A after

HEQ in the spatial domain) at location IO. In the wavelet

domain, the dztail-information and approximation information

are kept separately as shown in signal C and D, respectively.

Note that applying HEQ on the approximation-coefficients D

only, to get E, does not disturb any details in C. Therefore. the

reconstructed signal F, from E and C, preserves all details in

signal A. Hence, performing HEQ in the wavelet domain can

prevent detail information from being lost.

The purpose of contrast enhancement is to redistribute pixel

values uniformly, as much as possible. Fig.3 - Fig.8 show the

Lena image and i t s histogram hefore and after performing HEQ

in the spatial and the wavelet domains. We can obseNe that:

The original image in Fig.3 does not utilize the entire

dynamic range of pixel values and the pixel values are not

uniformly distributed.

The image in Fig.4 utilizes the entire dynamic range.

However there are some gray-levels have been eliminated.

The image in Fig.5 utilizes the entire dynamic range of

pixel values. Moreover, pixel values are uniformly utilized

over the entire dynamic range. From this observation (and

the other runs that are performed on other images, but are

not included in this paper), we can conclude that the

proposed wavelet-based HEQ method outperforms the

spatial domain HEQ method.

4.4. H B F Function

The purpose o f HBF i s l o enhance high frequency information

of a given image. The proposed method treats each detail

coefficient hand as a two-dimensional image (called imagehand) and applies HBF on these image-hands in the wavelet

domain (by subtracting the low-pass filtered image-hand from

the scaled original image-hand, where the scaling factorA is not

less than I):

Highboost= ( A ) Original Lowpass

The factor A determines the degree of high frequency emphasis.

During the course of this research, a 7 x 7 Gaussian filter with a

standard deviation equal 1.0 is used as the low-pass filter in the

~

111 - 398

N levels inverse

WaYelet trmsfom

Detail-coefficients

::p,

U

........

"........

..................

...................

.......

10

8

4

0

...... ......

-D

.."..

IO

20

30

40

-20

IO

..................

20

30

40

0'

10

20

30

40

Fig.2. A: the original ID signal, B: the signal A after HEQ in the spatial domain, C: the detailed-coefficients of A in the Haar wavelet

domain, D: the approximated-coefficients of A in the Haar wavelet domain. E: the approximated-coefficients of A after HEQ in the

Haar wavelet domain, F: the original signal A,after performing HEQ in the wavelet domain (reconstructed from C and E).

3

m

300

I8oc

2 a -

200

1 2oc

loo(.

100

600

I

50

'Io0 150

200

2%

50

100

150

200

250

experiments As the A value is increased, a stronger edge

emphasized result is achieved. However, we should know that

coefficients of each component have upper and lower bounds.

This means that if the A value is increased beyond a certain

50

100

150

200

250

value, the enhanced pixel values may jump outside the allowed

boundary range. In this case, these coefficient values will be

cast lo the nearby boundary (a saturation issue) The casting

process may introduce artifacts.

111 - 399

spatial domain

Fig.9 shows the original Lena image. Fig.10 shows the result

after using HEQ in the spatial domain. The result of using the

proposed method (i.e., using HEQ and HBF in the wavelet

domain) is shown in Fie.1 I .

[5]

[6]

3.

CONCLUSIONS

enhancement is proposed. Experimental results show that the

histogram of a given image after performing the histogram

equalization procedure in the wavelet domain is redistributed

more uniformly than that after performing the histogram

equalization procedure in the spatial domain.

Since contrast and edge enhancement procedures are applied

separately in the wavelet domain, they do not affect each other,

and the order of applying both of them becomes irrelevant.

Moreover, in the spatial domain, the enhancement process is

performed on the full size of an image. While in the wavelet

domain, the enhancement process is performed on some of the

decomposed components, each of which is at most a quarter the

size of the original image. Therefore, computation cost in the

wavelet domain is less than that in the spatial domain. This is

especially true when considering that currently most images are

already wavelet-compressed (the current JPEG 2000 standard is

a wavelet based scheme).

6.

171

[SI

191

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Engineering Council (NSERC) of Canada. This support is

greatly appreciated.

[I]

(21

[3]

[41

7. REFERENCES

R. Gonzalez, %nage Enhancement and Restoration,

Handbook of Parrern Recognition and Image Processing,

Academic Press,New York, pp. 191-213, 1986.

R. Gonzalez and R. Woods, Digifal Image Processing,

Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1992.

J. Fu, H. Lien and S. Wong, Wavelet-based HEQ of

gastric sonogram images, Computerized Medical

Imaging and Graphics, Vo1.24; pp. 5p-68, 2000.

T. Reeves and M. Jemigan, Multiscale-based Image

enhancement. Canadian Conference on E/ectrica/ and

Computer Engineering. Vol. 2. pp.50&505, 1997.

111 - 400

HBF in the wavelet domain

ed., Academic Press. New York, 1982.

C. BURUS,R. Gopinath and H. Guo, Introduction to

Wovelets and Wavelet Transformations: A Primer,

Prentice-Hall. New Jersev.

.. 1998.

E. Aboufadel and S . Schlicker, Discovering Wavelets,

John Wiley & Sons, New York. 1999.

Jinhui Pin, A new wavelet-based method for

contrastledge enhancement,

M.Sc. Dissertation.

Computer Science, University of Western Ontario,

London. Ontario, Canada, 2001.

L. Chen, C. Chen and K. Parker, Adaptive feature

enhancement form mammographic images with wavelet

multi-resolution analysis, Jaurml of Electronic

Imaging, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 467478, October 1997.

D. Kuan. A. Sawchuk, T. Strand and P. Chavel,

Adaptive noise smoothing filter for images with signaldependent noise, IEEE Transactions on Pattern

Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol. PAMI-7, No. 2,

pp. 165-177, March 1985.

K. Xu, X. Zheng and X. Cheng, A novel method for

image enhancement of medical images based on

wavelet, Acta Electronica Sinica, Vol. 27, No. 9_ pp.

121-123, 1999.

E. Olsen and B. Lin, A wavelet phase filter for emission

tomography, The Proceedings of the SPIE, Vol. 2491,

pp. 829439, 1995.

A. Bruce and II. Gao, Waveshrink Shrinkage function

and thresholds, The Proceedings ofthe SPIE,Vol. 2569.

PD.

. . 27&281, 1996.

W. Gong and Y. Wang, Contrast enhancement of

infrared image via wavelet transform, Journal of

National Universiry ofDefense Technology. Vol. 22, No.

6, pp. I 17-1 19,2000.

B. Xu, C. Fu and J. Ma, Image enhancement method

based on wavelet transform, Proceedings of rhe SPIE.

Vol. 4044, pp. 150-157,2000.

B. Peng , W. Fu and C. Yang, Contrast enhancement

of radiographs using shiR invariant wavelet transform.

Wuhan University Journal of Natural Sciences, Vo1.5,

No.1, P59-P62, 2000.

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