Optical EngineeringDisplay nonlinearity in digital image processing for visual communications
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The luminance emitted from a cathode ray rube (CRT) display is a nonlinear function (the gamma function) of the input video signal voltage. In most analog video systems, compensation for this nonlinear transfer function is implemented in the camera amplifiers. When CRT displays are used to present psychophysical stimuli in vision research, the specific display nonlinearity usually is measured and accounted for to ensure that the luminance of each pixel in the synthetic image properly represents the intended value. However, when using digital image processing, the linear analog-to-digital converters store a digital image that is nonlinearly related to the displayed or recorded image. The effect of this nonlinear transformation on a variety of image-processing applications used in visual communications is described.