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Journal of Electronic Imaging

Nonlinear unsharp masking methods for image contrast enhancement
Author(s): Giovanni Ramponi; Norbert K. Strobel; Sanjit K. Mitra; Tian-Hu Yu
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Paper Abstract

In the unsharp masking approach for image enhancement, a fraction of the highpass filtered version of the image is added to the original image to form the enhanced version. The method is simple, but it suffers from two serious drawbacks. First, it enhances the contrast in the darker areas perceptually much more strongly than that in the lighter areas. Second, it enhances the noise and/or digitization effects, particularly in the darker regions, resulting in visually less pleasing enhanced images. In general, noise can be suppressed with lowpass filters, which are associated with the blurring of the edges. On the other hand, contrast can be enhanced with highpass filters, which are associated with noise amplification. A reasonable solution, therefore, is to use suitable nonlinear filters which combine the features of both highpass and lowpass filters. This paper outlines several new methods of unsharp masking based on the use of such nonlinear filters. Computer simulations have verified the superior results obtained using these filters. In addition, a new measure of contrast enhancement is introduced which quantitatively supports the improvement obtained using the proposed methods.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 1996
PDF: 14 pages
J. Electron. Imaging. 5(3) doi: 10.1117/12.242618
Published in: Journal of Electronic Imaging Volume 5, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
Giovanni Ramponi, Univ. degli Studi di Trieste (Italy)
Norbert K. Strobel, Univ. of California/Santa Barbara (United States)
Sanjit K. Mitra, Univ. of California/Santa Barbara (United States)
Tian-Hu Yu, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (China)


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