Pyramid (image processing)
Output of a typical corner detection algorithm
|Affine invariant feature detection|
Pyramid or 'pyramid representation' is a type of multi-scale signal representation developed by the computer vision, image processing and signal processing communities, in which a signal or an image is subject to repeated smoothing and subsampling. Historically, pyramid representation is a predecessor to scale-space representation and multiresolution analysis.
There are two main types of pyramids; lowpass pyramids and bandpass pyramids. A lowpass pyramid is generated by first smoothing the image with an appropriate smoothing filter and then subsampling the smoothed image, usually by a factor of two along each coordinate direction. This smoothed image is then subjected to the same processing, resulting in a yet smaller image. As this process proceeds, the result will be a set of gradually more smoothed images, where in addition the spatial sampling density decreases level by level. If illustrated graphically, this multi-scale representation will look like a pyramid, from which the name has been obtained. A bandpass pyramid is obtained by forming the difference between adjacent levels in a pyramid, where in addition some kind of interpolation is performed between representations at adjacent levels of resolution, to enable the computation of pixelwise differences.
Pyramid generation kernels
A variety of different smoothing kernels have been proposed for generating pyramids. Among the suggestions that have been given, the binomial kernels arising from the binomial coefficients stand out as a particularly useful and theoretically well-founded class. Thus, given a two-dimensional image, we may apply the (normalized) binomial filter (1/4, 1/2, 1/4) typically twice or more along each spatial dimension and then subsample the image by a factor of two. This operation may then proceed as many times as desired, leading to a compact and efficient multi-scale representation. If motivated by specific requirements, intermediate scale levels may also be generated where the subsampling stage is sometimes left out, leading to an oversampled or hybrid pyramid. With the increasing computational efficiency of CPUs available today, it is in some situations also feasible to use wider support Gaussian filters as smoothing kernels in the pyramid generation steps.
||It has been suggested that Laplacian pyramid be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2013.|
||It has been suggested that Gaussian pyramid be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2013.|
Applications of pyramids
In the early days of computer vision, pyramids were used as the main type of multi-scale representation for computing multi-scale image features from real-world image data. More recent techniques include scale-space representation, which has been popular among some researchers due to its theoretical foundation, the ability to decouple the subsampling stage from the multi-scale representation, the more powerful tools for theoretical analysis as well as the ability to compute a representation at any desired scale, thus avoiding the algorithmic problems of relating image representations at different resolution. Nevertheless, pyramids are still frequently used for expressing computationally efficient approximations to scale-space representation.
Laplacian image pyramids based off the bilateral filter provide a good framework for image detail enhancement and manipulation. The difference images between each layer are modified to exaggerate or reduce details at different scales in an image.
Some image compression file formats use the Adam7 algorithm or some other interlacing (bitmaps) technique. These can be seen as a kind of image pyramid. Because those file format store the "large-scale" features first, and fine-grain details later in the file, a particular viewer displaying a small "thumbnail" or on a small screen can quickly download just enough of the image to display it in the available pixels -- so one file can support many viewer resolutions, rather than having to store or generate a different file for each resolution.
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- Lindeberg, Tony. Scale-Space Theory in Computer Vision, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994, ISBN 0-7923-9418-6
- See the article on multi-scale approaches for a very brief theoretical statement
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- Photo Detail Manipulation via Image Pyramids