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Tone-mapping operators (TMOs) that convert high dynamic range (HDR) to low dynamic range (LDR) images provide practically useful tools for the visualization of HDR images on standard LDR displays. Different TMOs create different tone-mapped images, and a natural question is which one has the best quality. Without an appropriate quality measure, different TMOs cannot be compared, and further improvement is directionless. Subjective rating may be a reliable evaluation method, but it is expensive and time consuming, and more importantly, is difficult to be embedded into optimization frameworks. Here we propose an objective quality assessment algorithm for tone-mapped images by combining: 1) a multiscale signal fidelity measure on the basis of a modified structural similarity index and 2) a naturalness measure on the basis of intensity statistics of natural images. Validations using independent subject-rated image databases show good correlations between subjective ranking score and the proposed tone-mapped image quality index (TMQI). Furthermore, we demonstrate the extended applications of TMQI using two examples - parameter tuning for TMOs and adaptive fusion of multiple tone-mapped images.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013