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- 1. IMAGE COMPRESSION Introduction Image compression is the application of data compression or transmit data in an efficient form.Image compression is minimizing the size in bytes of a graphics file without degrading the quality of the image to an unaccceptable level. The reduction in file size allows more images to be stored in a given amount of disk or memory space. It also reduces the time required for images to be sent over the Internet or downloaded from Web pages.. In effect, the objective is to reduce redundancy of the image data in order to be able to store in digital images. For example, an image that has a resolution of 640x480 and is in the RGB color space at 8 bits per color requires 900 kbytes of storage. If this image can be compressed at a compression ration of 20:1, the amount of storage required is only 45 kbytes. There are several methods of image compression, including iVEX, JPEG, MPEG, H.261, H.263, and Wavelet. Techniques for image compression include the use of fractals and wavelets. These methods have not gained widespread acceptance for use on the Internet as of this writing. However, both methods offer promise because they offer higher compression ratios than the JPEG or GIF methods for some types of images. Another new method that may in time replace the GIF format is the PNG format. The steps involved in compressing an image are : 1. Specifying the Rate (bits available) and Distortion (tolerable error) parameters for the target image. 2. Dividing the image data into various classes, based on their importance. 3. Dividing the available bit budget among these classes, such that the distortion is a minimum. 4. Quantize each class separately using the bit allocation information derived in step3. 5. Encode each class separately using an entropy coder and write to the file. 1
- 2. Reconstructing the image from the compressed data is usually a faster process than compression. The steps involved are : 1. Read in the quantized data from the file, using an entropy decoder. (reverse of step 5). 2. Dequantize the data. (reverse of step 4). 3. Rebuild the image. (reverse of step 2). Categories of data compression algorithms There are two categories of data compression algorithms: Lossless and Lossy Lossless: A text file or program can be compressed without the introduction of errors, but only up to a certain extent. This is called lossless compression. Lossless compression is sometimes preferred for artificial images such as technical drawings, icons or comics. Lossless compression methods may also be preferred for high value content, such as medical imagery or image scans made for archival purposes Lossless coding guaranties that the decompressed image is absolutely identical to the image before compression Lossy: Lossy techniques cause image quality degradation in each compression/decompression step. Careful consideration of the human visual perception ensures that the degradation is often unrecognisable, though this depends on the selected compression ratio. In general, lossy techniques provide far greater compression ratios than lossless techniques. Lossless coding techniques Methods for lossless image compression are: 1. Run-length encoding 2. Entropy coding 3. Adaptive dictionary algorithms such as LZW 2
- 3. Run length encoding Run length encoding is a very simple method for compression of sequential data. It takes advantage of the fact that, in many data streams, consecutive single tokens are often identical. Run length encoding checks the stream for this fact and inserts a special token each time a chain of more than two equal input tokens are found. This special input advises the decoder to insert the following token n times into his output stream. Following is a short example of this method: Clock Input Coder Decoder Output Output 1 A 2 B A 3 C B A 4 C Ø B 5 C Ø Ø 6 C Ø Ø 7 C Ø Ø 8 D %5C Ø 9 E D CCCCC 10 Ø E D 11 Ø Ø E In this example, there are 9 tokens going into the coder, but just 7 going out. The effectivity of run length encoding is a function of the number of equal tokens in a row in relation to the total number of input tokens. This relation is very high in undithered two tone images of the type used for facsimile. Obviously, effectivity degrades when the input does not contain too many equal tokens. With a rising density of information, the likelihood of two following tokens being the same does sink significantly, as there is always some noise distortion in the input. Run length coding is easily implemented, either in software or in hardware. It is fast and very well verifiable, but its compression ability is very limited. Entropy coding The typical implementation of an entropy coder follows J. Ziv/A. Lempel's approach. Nowadays, there is a wide range of so called modified Lempel/Ziv codings. These 3
- 4. algorithms all have a common way of working. The coder and the decoder both build up an equivalent dictionary of metasymbols, each of which represents a whole sequence of input tokens. If a sequence is repeated after a symbol was found for it, then only the symbol becomes part of the coded data and the sequence of tokens referenced by the symbol becomes part of the decoded data later. This method becomes very efficient even on virtually random data. The average compression on text and program data is about 1:2, the ratio on image data comes up to 1:8 on the average GIF image. Here again, a high level of input noise degrades the efficiency significantly. Entropy coders are a little tricky to implement, as there are usually a few tables, all growing while the algorithm runs. Area Coding Area coding is an enhanced form of run length coding, reflecting the two dimensional character of images. This is a significant advance over the other lossless methods. For coding an image it does not make too much sense to interpret it as a sequential stream, as it is in fact an array of sequences, building up a two dimensional object. Therefore, as the two dimensions are independent and of same importance, it is obvious that a coding scheme aware of this has some advantages. The algorithms for area coding try to find rectangular regions with the same characteristics. These regions are coded in a descriptive form as an Element with two points and a certain structure. The whole input image has to be described in this form to allow lossless decoding afterwards. The possible performance of this coding method is limited mostly by the very high complexity of the task of finding largest areas with the same characteristics. Practical implementations use recursive algorithms for reducing the whole area to equal sized subrectangles until a rectangle does fulfill the criteria defined as having the same characteristic for every pixel. This type of coding can be highly effective but it bears the problem of a nonlinear method, which cannot be implemented in hardware. Therefore, the performance in terms of compression time is not competitive, although the compression ratio is. 4
- 5. Lossy coding techniques Lossy compression methods, especially used at low bit rates, introduce compression artifacts.. Lossy methods are especially suitable for natural images such as photos in applications where minor (sometimes imperceptible) loss of fidelity is acceptable to achieve a substantial reduction in bit rate. Methods for lossy compression: 1. Reducing the color space to the most common colors in the image. The selected colors are specified in the color palette in the header of the compressed image. Each pixel just references the index of a color in the color palette. This method can be combined with dithering to blur the color borders. 2. Chroma subsampling. This takes advantage of the fact that the eye perceives brightness more sharply than color, by dropping half or more of the chrominance information in the image. 3. Transform coding. This is the most commonly used method. A Fourier-related transform such as DCT or the wavelet transform are applied, followed by quantization and entropy coding. Lossy image coding techniques normally have three components: 1. image modelling which defines such things as the transformation to be applied to the image 2. parameter quantisation whereby the data generated by the transformation is quantised to reduce the amount of information 3. encoding, where a code is generated by associating appropriate codewords to the raw data produced by the quantiser. Transform coding : Transform coding can be generalized into four stages: 1. image subdivision 2. image transformation 5
- 6. 3. quantisation 4. Huffman encoding.. Image subdivision: A general transform coding scheme involves subdividing an NxN image into smaller nxn blocks and performing a unitary transform on each subimage. Image Transformation: The goal of the transform is to decorrelate the original signal, and this decorrelation generally results in the signal energy being redistributed among only a small set of transform coefficients. In this way, many Quantization : Quantization refers to the process of approximating the continuous set of values in the image data with a finite (preferably small) set of values. The input to a quantizer is the original data, and the output is always one among a finite number of levels. The quantizer is a function whose set of output values are discrete, and usually finite. Obviously, this is a process of approximation, and a good quantizer is one which represents the original signal with minimum loss or distortion. There are two types of quantization : Scalar Quantization and Vector Quantization. In scalar quantization, each input symbol is treated separately in producing the output, while in vector quantization the input symbols are clubbed together in groups called vectors, and processed to give the output. This clubbing of data and treating them as a single unit increases the optimality of the vector quantizer, but at the cost of increased computational complexity. Here, we'll take a look at scalar quantization. A quantizer can be specified by its input partitions and output levels (also called reproduction points). If the input range is divided into levels of equal spacing, then the quantizer is termed as a Uniform Quantizer, and if not, it is termed as a Non-Uniform Quantizer. A uniform quantizer can be easily specified by its lower bound and the step size. Also, implementing a uniform quantizer is easier than a non-uniform quantizer. Take a look at the uniform quantizer shown below. If the input falls between n*r and (n+1)*r, the quantizer outputs the symbol n. 6
- 7. Fig : A uniform quantizer Just the same way a quantizer partitions its input and outputs discrete levels, a Dequantizer is one which receives the output levels of a quantizer and converts them into normal data, by translating each level into a 'reproduction point' in the actual range of data. It can be seen from literature, that the optimum quantizer (encoder) and optimum dequantizer (decoder) must satisfy the following conditions. 1. Given the output levels or partitions of the encoder, the best decoder is one that puts the reproduction points x' on the centers of mass of the partitions. This is known as centroid condition. 2. Given the reproduction points of the decoder, the best encoder is one that puts the partition boundaries exactly in the middle of the reproduction points, i.e. each x is translated to its nearest reproduction point. This is known as nearest neighbour condition. The quantization error (x - x') is used as a measure of the optimality of the quantizer and dequantizer. Huffman encoding: This algorithm, developed by D.A. Huffman, is based on the fact that in an input stream certain tokens occur more often than others. Based on this knowledge, the algorithm builds up a weighted binary tree according to their rate of occurrence. Each element of this tree is assigned a new code word, whereat the length of the code word is determined by its position in the tree. Therefore, the token which is most frequent and becomes the root of the tree is assigned the shortest code. Each less common element is assigned a longer code word. The least frequent element is assigned a code word which may have become twice as long as the input token. The compression ratio achieved by Huffman encoding uncorrelated data becomes 7
- 8. something like 1:2. On slightly correlated data, as on images, the compression rate may become much higher, the absolute maximum being defined by the size of a single input token and the size of the shortest possible output token (max. compression = token size[bits]/2[bits]). While standard palletised images with a limit of 256 colours may be compressed by 1:4 if they use only one colour, more typical images give results in the range of 1:1.2 to 1:2.5. The JPEG and MPEG standards are examples of standards based on transform coding. Segmentation and approximation methods With segmentation and approximation coding methods, the image is modelled as a mosaic of regions, each one characterised by a sufficient degree of uniformity of its pixels with respect to a certain feature (e.g. grey level, texture); each region then has some parameters related to the characterising feature associated with it. The operations of finding a suitable segmentation and an optimum set of approximating parameters are highly correlated, since the segmentation algorithm must take into account the error produced by the region reconstruction (in order to limit this value within determined bounds). These two operations constitute the logical modelling for this class of coding schemes; quantisation and encoding are strongly dependent on the statistical characteristics of the parameters of this approximation (and, therefore, on the approximation itself). Classical examples are polynomial approximation and texture approximation. For polynomial approximation regions are reconstructed by means of polynomial functions in (x, y); the task of the encoder is to find the optimum coefficients. In texture approximation, regions are filled by synthesising a parametrised texture based on some model (e.g. fractals, statistical methods, Markov Random Fields [MRF]). It must be pointed out that, while in polynomial approximations the problem of finding optimum coefficients is quite simple (it is possible to use least squares approximation or similar exact formulations), for texture based techniques this problem can be very complex. Spline approximation methods These methodologies fall in the more general category of image reconstruction or sparse 8
- 9. data interpolation. The basic concept is to interpolate data from a set of points coming from original pixel data or calculated in order to match some error criteria. The problem of interpolating a set of sparse data is generally ill posed, so some regularization algorithm must be adopted in order to obtain a unique solution. The problem is well documented, and many interpolation algorithms have been proposed. In order to apply this kind of technique to image coding, a good interpolant must be used to match visual criteria. Spline interpolation provides a good visual interpolant, notwithstanding its requiring a great computational effort. Bilinear interpolation is more easy to implement, while maintaining a very good visual quality. Regularization involves the minimisation of an energy function in order to obtain an interpolant which presents some smoothness constraints; it can be combined with non-continuities along edges in order to preserve contour quality during reconstruction. Generally all interpolants computations require the solution of very large linear equation sets, even if related to very sparse matrices. This leads to the use of recursive solution such as relaxation (suitable for a large parallel implementation), or to the use of gradient descent algorithm. Fractal coding : Fractal parameters, including fractal dimension, lacunarity, as well as others described below, have the potential to provide efficient methods of describing imagery in a highly compact fashion for both intra- and interframe applications. Fractal methods have been developed for both noisy and noise free coding methods. Images of natural scenes are likely candidates because of the fractal structure of the scene content, but results are reported to be applicable to a variety of binary, monochrome, and colour scenes. Image compression algorithms which are noise free have been reported to be developed from this transform for real time automatic image compression at ratios between 10:1 and 100:1 Bit Allocation : The first step in compressing an image is to segregate the image data into different classes. Depending on the importance of the data it contains, each class is allocated a portion of the total bit budget, such that the compressed image has the minimum possible distortion. This procedure is called Bit Allocation. 9
- 10. The Rate-Distortion theory is often used for solving the problem of allocating bits to a set of classes, or for bit rate control in general. The theory aims at reducing the distortion for a given target bit rate, by optimally allocating bits to the various classes of data. One approach to solve the problem of Optimal Bit Allocation using the Rate-Distortion theory is explained below. Initially, all classes are allocated a predefined maximum number of bits. For each class, one bit is reduced from its quota of allocated bits, and the distortion due to the reduction of that 1 bit is calculated. Of all the classes, the class with mininum distortion for a reduction of 1 bit is noted, and 1 bit is reduced from its quota of bits. The total distortion for all classes D is calculated. The total rate for all the classes is calculated as: R = p(i) * B(i), where p is the probability and B is the bit allocation for each class. Compare the target rate and distortion specifications with the values obtained above. If not optimal, go to step 2. In the approach explained above, we keep on reducing one bit at a time till we achieve optimality either in distortion or target rate, or both. An alternate approach which is also mentioned in [1] is to initially start with zero bits allocated for all classes, and to find the class which is most 'benefitted' by getting an additional bit. The 'benefit' of a class is defined as the decrease in distortion for that class. Fig: 'Benefit' of a bit is the decrease in distortion due to receiving that bit. As shown above, the benefit of a bit is a decreasing function of the number of bits allocated previously to the same class. Both approaches mentioned above can be used to the Bit Allocation problem. 10
- 11. Efficiency and quality of different lossy compression techniques The performances of lossy picture coding algorithms is usually evaluated on the basis of two parameters: 1. The compression factor (or analogously the bit rate) and 2. The distortion produced on the reconstruction. The first is an objective parameter, while the second strongly depends on the usage of the coded image. Nevertheless, a rough evaluation of the performances of a method can be made by considering an objective measure of the error, like MSE or SNR. For the methods described in the previous pages, average compression ratios and SNR values obtainable are presented in the following table: Method VQ DCT-SQ DCT-VQ AP SplineTSD Fractals ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bit Rate 0.8-0.4 0.8-0.3 0.3-0.08 0.3-0.1 0.4-0.1 0.8-0.0 (bpp) SNR (dB) 36-30 36-31 30-25 image 36-32 image dependent dependent Comparison of Different Compression Methods During the last years, some standardisation processes based on transform coding, such as JPEG, have been started. Performances of such a standard are quite good if compression factors are maintained under a given threshold (about 20 times). Over this threshold, artifacts become visible in the reconstruction and tile effect affects seriously the images decoded, due to quantisation effects of the DCT coefficients. On the other hand, there are two advantages: first, it is a standard, and second, dedicated hardware implementations exist. For applications which require higher compression factors with some minor loss of accuracy when compared with JPEG, different techniques should be selected such as wavelets coding or spline interpolation, followed by an efficient entropy encoder such as Huffman, arithmetic coding or vector quantisation. Some of this coding schemes, are suitable for progressive reconstruction (Pyramidal Wavelet Coding, Two Source Decomposition, etc). This property can be exploited by applications such as coding of images in a database, for previewing purposes 11
- 12. or for transmission on a limited bandwidth channel. Classifying image data An image is represented as a two-dimentional array of coefficients, each coefficient representing the brightness level in that point. When looking from a higher perspective, we can't differentiate between coefficients as more important ones, and lesser important ones. But thinking more intuitively, we can. Most natural images have smooth colour variations, with the fine details being represented as sharp edges in between the smooth variations. Technically, the smooth variations in colour can be termed as low frequency variations and the sharp variations as high frequency variations. The low frequency components (smooth variations) constitute the base of an image, and the high frequency components (the edges which give the detail) add upon them to refine the image, thereby giving a detailed image. Hence, the smooth variations are demanding more importance than the details. Separating the smooth variations and details of the image can be done in many ways. One such way is the decomposition of the image using a Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT). Pyramidal Decomposition of Image Non-Uniform Sampling and Interpolation for Lossy Image Compression A set of experiments was performed with a lossy image compression algorithm that utilizes non-uniform sampling and interpolation (NSI) of the image intensity surface. The goal of this work was to create a lossy compression algorithm which was asymmetrical, having a low decompression complexity and a potentially higher compression complexity. The algorithm non-uniformly samples the image data in two dimensions. The number of samples chosen, and hence the compression ratio, is based on a supplied error 12
- 13. metric threshold and local image features. The technique uses a greedy sample point selection algorithm and then returns to the original sample point decisions and jitters them for a better fit. Decompression consists of a linear interpolation between sample points. Over 90 percent of the information in the world is still on paper. Many of those paper documents include color graphics and/or photographs that represent significant invested value. And almost none of that rich content is on the Internet. That's because scanning such documents and getting them onto a Web site has been problematic at best. At the high resolution necessary to ensure the readability of the text and to preserve the quality of the images, file sizes become far too bulky for acceptable download speed. Reducing resolution to achieve satisfactory download speed means forfeiting quality and legibility. Conventional web formats such as JPEG, GIF, and PNG produce prohibitively large image files at decent resolution. DjVu DjVu (pronounced "déjà vu") is a new image compression technology developed since 1996 at AT&T Labs to solve precisely that problem. DjVu allows the distribution on the Internet of very high resolution images of scanned documents, digital documents, and photographs. DjVu allows content developers to scan high-resolution color pages of books, magazines, catalogs, manuals, newspapers, historical or ancient documents, and make them available on the Web. Information that was previously trapped in hard copy form can now be made available to wide audience. The commercialization of DjVu is handled by Seattle-based LizardTech Inc. in partnership with AT&T Labs. DjVu is an open standard. The file format specification, as well as an open source implementations of the decoder (and part of the encoder) are available. DjVu typically achieves compression ratios about 5 to 10 times better than existing 13
- 14. methods such as JPEG and GIF for color documents, and 3 to 8 times than TIFF for black and white documents. Scanned pages at 300 DPI in full color can be compressed down to 30 to 100KB files from 25MB.. Black-and-white pages at 300 DPI typically occupy 5 to 30KB when compressed. This puts the size of high-quality scanned pages within the realm of an average HTML page (which is typically around 50KB). For color document images that contain both text and pictures, DjVu files are typically 5 to 10 times smaller than JPEG at similar quality. For black-and-white pages, DjVu files are typically 10 to 20 times smaller than JPEG and five times smaller than GIF. DjVu files are also about 3 to 8 times smaller than black and white PDF files produced from scanned documents (scanned documents in color are impractical in PDF). In addition to scanned documents, DjVu can also be applied to documents produced electronically in formats such as Adobe's PostScript or PDF. In that case, the file sizes are between 15 to 20KB per page at 300 DPI.. The DjVu plug-in is available for standard Web browsers on various platforms. The DjVu plug-in allows for easy panning and zooming of document images. A unique on the fly decompression technology allows images that normally require 25MB of RAM to be decompressed to require only 2MB of RAM. Conventional image viewing software decompresses images in their entirety before displaying them. This is impractical for high-resolution document images since they typically go beyond the memory capacity of many PCs, causing excessive disk swapping. DjVu, on the other hand, never decompresses the entire image, but instead keeps the image in memory in a compact form, and decompresses the piece displayed on the screen in real time as the user views the image. Images as large as 2,500 pixels by 3,300 pixels (a standard page image at 300 DPI) can be downloaded and displayed on very low-end PCs. The DjVu format is progressive. Users get an initial version of the page very quickly, and the visual quality of the page progressively improves as more bits arrive. For example, the text of a typical magazine page would appear in just three seconds over a 56Kbps modem connection. In another second or two, the first versions of the pictures and backgrounds will appear. Then, after a few more seconds, the final full-quality version of 14
- 15. the page is completed. One of the main technologies behind DjVu is the ability to separate an image into a background layer (i.e., paper texture and pictures) and foreground layer (text and line drawings). Traditional image compression techniques are fine for simple photographs, but they drastically degrade sharp color transitions between adjacent highly contrasted areas - which is why they render type so poorly. By separating the text from the backgrounds, DjVu can keep the text at high resolution (thereby preserving the sharp edges and maximizing legibility), while at the same time compressing the backgrounds and pictures at lower resolution with a wavelet-based compression technique. 15
- 16. CONCLUSION Image compression is the application of data compression or transmit data in an efficient form. Image compression is minimizing the size in bytes of a graphics file without degrading the quality of the image to an unaccceptable level. It also reduces the time required for images to be sent over the Internet or downloaded from Web pages.There are two categories of data compression algorithms: Lossless and Lossy Reconstructing the image from the compressed data is usually a faster process than compression. 16

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