IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, vol. 10, no. 10, pp. 1397-1410, Oct. 2001


Embedded Foveation Image Coding

Zhou Wang and Alan C. Bovik

Laboratory for Image and Video Engineering (LIVE), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1084

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Abstract: The human visual system (HVS) is highly space-variant in sampling, coding, processing and understanding. The spatial resolution of the HVS is highest around the point of fixation (foveation point) and decreases rapidly with increasing eccentricity. By taking advantage of this fact, it is possible to remove considerable high frequency information redundancy from the peripheral regions and still reconstruct a perceptually good quality image. Great success has been obtained recently by a class of embedded wavelet image coding algorithms, such as the embedded zerotree wavelet (EZW) and the set partitioning in hierarchical trees (SPIHT) algorithms. Embedded wavelet coding not only provides very good compression performance, but also has the property that the bitstream can be truncated at any point and still be decoded to recreate a reasonably good quality image. In this paper, we propose an embedded foveation image coding (EFIC) algorithm, which orders the encoded bitstream to optimize foveated visual quality at arbitrary bit rates. A foveation-based image quality metric, namely foveated wavelet image quality index (FWQI), plays an important role in the EFIC system. We also developed a modified SPIHT algorithm to improve the coding efficiency. Experiments show that EFIC integrates foveation filtering with foveated image coding and demonstrates very good coding performance and scalability in terms of foveated image quality measurement.

Index Terms image coding, embedded coding, human visual system, foveation, foveation filtering, foveated image coding, wavelet, progressive transmission, scalable coding, image quality measurement.