INFORMATION THEORETIC CRITERIA FOR IMAGE QUALITY ASSESSMENT BASED ON NATURAL SCENE STATISTICS
Measurement of visual quality is crucial for various image and video processing applications. It is widely applied in image acquisition, media transmission, video compression, image/video restoration, etc. The goal of image quality assessment (QA) is to develop a computable quality metric which is able to properly evaluate image quality. The primary criterion is better QA consistency with human judgment. Computational complexity and resource limitations are also concerns in a successful QA design. Many methods have been proposed up to now. At the beginning, quality measurements were directly taken from simple distance measurements, which refer to mathematically signal fidelity, such as mean squared error or Minkowsky distance. Lately, QA was extended to color space and the Fourier domain in which images are better represented. Some existing methods also consider the adaptive ability of human vision. Unfortunately, the Video Quality Experts Group indicated that none of the more sophisticated metrics showed any great advantage over other existing metrics. This thesis proposes a general approach to the QA problem by evaluating image information entropy. An information theoretic model for the human visual system is proposed and an information theoretic solution is presented to derive the proper settings. The quality metric is validated by five subjective databases from different research labs. The key points for a successful quality metric are investigated. During the testing, our quality metric exhibits excellent consistency with the human judgments and compatibility with different databases. Other than full reference quality assessment metric, blind quality assessment metrics are also proposed. In order to predict quality without a reference image, two concepts are introduced which quantitatively describe the inter-scale dependency under a multi-resolution framework. Based on the success of the full reference quality metric, several blind quality metrics are proposed for five different types of distortions in the subjective databases. Our blind metrics outperform all existing blind metrics and also are able to deal with some distortions which have not been investigated.