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We propose a natural scene statistic-based distortion-generic blind/no-reference (NR) image quality assessment (IQA) model that operates in the spatial domain. The new model, dubbed blind/referenceless image spatial quality evaluator (BRISQUE) does not compute distortion-specific features, such as ringing, blur, or blocking, but instead uses scene statistics of locally normalized luminance coefficients to quantify possible losses of “naturalness” in the image due to the presence of distortions, thereby leading to a holistic measure of quality. The underlying features used derive from the empirical distribution of locally normalized luminances and products of locally normalized luminances under a spatial natural scene statistic model. No transformation to another coordinate frame (DCT, wavelet, etc.) is required, distinguishing it from prior NR IQA approaches. Despite its simplicity, we are able to show that BRISQUE is statistically better than the full-reference peak signal-to-noise ratio and the structural similarity index, and is highly competitive with respect to all present-day distortion-generic NR IQA algorithms. BRISQUE has very low computational complexity, making it well suited for real time applications. BRISQUE features may be used for distortion-identification as well. To illustrate a new practical application of BRISQUE, we describe how a nonblind image denoising algorithm can be augmented with BRISQUE in order to perform blind image denoising. Results show that BRISQUE augmentation leads to performance improvements over state-of-the-art methods. A software release of BRISQUE is available online: http://live.ece.utexas.edu/research/quality/BRISQUE_release.zip for public use and evaluation.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012