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Next: Estimation with unknown exposure Up: .  Introduction: Variable gain image Previous: Robust statistics and yet

Estimation with more than two input images

A simplified, though artificial situation, is when the camera is held still and the exposure is adjusted manually. Although not so realistic in today's world of mostly automatic cameras, this situation helps provide insight into the problem.

Here, a dataset of subject matter differing only in exposure, is used to calibrate the system. The sequence is from a dark interiour looking out into bright sunlight, with bright sky in the background, the dynamic range of the original subject matter being far in excess of what can be captured in any one of the constituent pictures. Such an image sequences is shown in Fig 3.

Figure 3: A sequence of differently exposed pictures of overlapping subject matter. Such variable gain sequences give rise to a family of comparagrams. In this sequence the gain happens to have increased from left to right. The square matrix $J$ (called a comparagram) that arose from (15) is shown for each pair of images under the image pairs themselves, for $k=2^1=2$. The next row shows pairwise comparagrams for skip=2 e.g. $k=2^2=4$, and then for skip=3, e.g. $k=2^3=8$. Various skip values give rise to families of comparagrams that capture all the necessary exposure difference information. Each skip value provides a family of comparagrams.

The comparagram (the square matrix $J$ that arose from (15)) is a very powerful tool for understanding the relationship between differently exposed pictures of the same subject matter since it contains all that can be known about the response function of the imaging apparatus [7]. Fig 3 shows the variable image sequence together with comparagrams for various successive pairs of images as indicated.

In this case, rather than considering all possible pairs of images in a least squares unrolling of the comparagrams, it is only necessary to consider the three possible pairs of comparagrams to get a total least squares estimate.

Reverse engineering (e.g. discovering or determining) the response function from the comparagram may be achieved through a logarithmic unrolling of the comparagram, as if it were a logistic map [2]. Applying a least squares unrolling to this data provides the recovered response function shown in Fig 4(a).

Figure: (a) A least squares solution to the data shown in Fig 3, using a novel multiscale smoothing algorithm, is shown as a solid line. The plus signs denote known ground truth data measured from the camera using professional laboratory instruments (as described later in this paper). (b) The derivative of the computed response function is the certainty function. Note that despite the excellent fit to the known data, the certainty function magnifies slight roughness in the curve.
This solution recovers a lookup table, for converting an image into lightspace [7]. Although this estimate of the response function, $f(Q)$ looks reasonable, next to known points found with professional lab equipment, we can gather more insight by plotting the derivative (known as the certainty function [7]) of the response curve. This certainty function is shown in Fig 4(b).

The resulting recovered response function, $f(q)$, of Fig 4(a), found by unrolling the comparagrams, can be verified by regenerating ordered pairs $(f,g)=(f(q),f(kq))$ as shown in Fig 5.

Figure 5: Verification of compargram unrolling: The response function $f(q)$ is unrolled from the comparagrams. A comparametric plot of the data for each response function is made, as ordered pairs $(f,g)=(f(q),f(kq))$ as a comparagram image with bin counts equal to zero where the comparametric equation is not true. If we compare these images with the original comparagrams, we can easily verify that the estimates of the response function must have been very close to correct. Note that this method of verification does not require any special laboratory instruments.

next up previous
Next: Estimation with unknown exposure Up: .  Introduction: Variable gain image Previous: Robust statistics and yet
Steve Mann 2002-05-25