Locally adaptive perceptual image coding

Ingo Höntsch, Lina Karam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Most existing efforts in image and video compression have focused on developing methods to minimize not perceptual but rather mathematically tractable, easy to measure, distortion metrics. While nonperceptual distortion measures were found to be reasonably reliable for higher bit rates (high-quality applications), they do not correlate well with the perceived quality at lower bit rates and they fail to guarantee preservation of important perceptual qualities in the reconstructed images despite the potential for a good signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). This paper presents a perceptual-based image coder, which discriminates between image components based on their perceptual relevance for achieving increased performance in terms of quality and bit rate. The new coder is based on a locally adaptive perceptual quantization scheme for compressing the visual data. Our strategy is to exploit human visual masking properties by deriving visual masking thresholds in a locally adaptive fashion based on a subband decomposition. The derived masking thresholds are used in controlling the quantization stage by adapting the quantizer reconstruction levels to the local amount of masking present at the level of each subband transform coefficient. Compared to the existing non locally adaptive perceptual quantization methods, the new locally adaptive algorithm exhibits superior performance and does not require additional side information. This is accomplished by estimating the amount of available masking from the already quantized data and linear prediction of the coefficient under consideration. By virtue of the local adaptation, the proposed quantization scheme is able to remove a large amount of perceptually redundant information. Since the algorithm does not require additional side information, it yields a low entropy representation of the image and is well suited for perceptually lossless image compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1472-1483
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2000


  • Contrast masking
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Human visual system
  • Locally adaptive
  • Perceptual image compression
  • Perceptual quantization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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