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Limits on super-resolution and how to break them

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2 Author(s)
Baker, S. ; Robotics Inst., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Kanade, T.

Nearly all super-resolution algorithms are based on the fundamental constraints that the super-resolution image should generate low resolution input images when appropriately warped and down-sampled to model the image formation process. (These reconstruction constraints are normally combined with some form of smoothness prior to regularize their solution.) We derive a sequence of analytical results which show that the reconstruction constraints provide less and less useful information as the magnification factor increases. We also validate these results empirically and show that, for large enough magnification factors, any smoothness prior leads to overly smooth results with very little high-frequency content. Next, we propose a super-resolution algorithm that uses a different kind of constraint in addition to the reconstruction constraints. The algorithm attempts to recognize local features in the low-resolution images and then enhances their resolution in an appropriate manner. We call such a super-resolution algorithm a hallucination or reconstruction algorithm. We tried our hallucination algorithm on two different data sets, frontal images of faces and printed Roman text. We obtained significantly better results than existing reconstruction-based algorithms, both qualitatively and in terms of RMS pixel error

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Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 9 )