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This paper puts forward a fast multi-scale retinex algorithm in order to solve the problem of color distortion and to improve the disadvantages of a slowly time-consuming arithmetic in the course of image enhancement which is based on the multi-scale retinex algorithm. Through construction of average value templates in advance, Gaussian convolution operation is simplified to be average arithmetic. A new rational color space is constructed which possesses the advantages of simple space conversion and small quantity of calculation. Meanwhile it keeps the color image in a better way. The experimental results demonstrate that the fast multi-scale retinex algorithm can ensure the treated effect and improve the efficiency of execution; furthermore it can run in the personal computers and the embedded environment. Therefore it has much better practical value.