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This invention is designed to for upgrading color images to compensate for noise reduction without generating a large color shift. This color shift takes place when separately upgrading different color planes of an image. The invention improves on existing methods by creating a separate enhanced gray-tone image from which to derive edges, which is used to enhance the color planes of the image.
The method uses an enhanced gray-tone image as the basis for upgrading colors. All color upgrades are based on relevant edges determined from the gray-tone image. It calls for analyzing a sequences of images together in order to find the edge information. The noise reduction of the color planes is performed using the edge information. This process preserves the color consistency of the image.
This invention can be used for any kind of photo and video editing software in which the user may want to modulate the process of noise reduction in a color image. It lends itself well to an easy-to-use interface allowing the user to request an image upgrade without needing to do very much hands-on editing. The method may also be used for the automatic production of color images without the need for user-guided upgrades. It will be particularly useful for color photos and videos taken in dark places, and for cameras needing a "night view mode."
The method calls for the creation of enhanced gray tone images, based on an original set of color images, using luminance or lightness as the main criterion for the creation of grayscale values. This enhancement may be done spatially or temporal. A new image, with the edge information of the gray tone image is constructed. Upgrades for the color planes now take place using on edge information given in the gray tone image. These edges may additionally be weighted according to importance.