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The Hutchinson metric is a natural measure of the discrepancy between two images for use in fractal image processing. An efficient solution to the problem of computing the Hutchinson metric between two arbitrary digitized images is considered. The technique proposed here, based on the shape of the objects as projected on the digitized screen, can be used as an effective way to establish the error between the original and the, possibly compressed, decoded image. To test the performance of our method, we apply it to compare pairs of fractal objects, as well as to compare real-world images with the corresponding reconstructed ones.