On Maximizing The Performance Of The Bilateral Filter For Image Denoising
We address the problem of image denoising for additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN), Poisson noise, and Chi-squared noise scenarios. Thermal noise in electronic circuitry in camera hardware can be modeled as AWGN. Poisson noise is used to model the randomness associated with photon counting during image acquisition. Chi-squared noise statistics are appropriate in imaging modalities such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). AWGN is additive, while Poisson noise is neither additive nor multiplicative. Although Chi-squared noise is derived from AWGN statistics, it is non-additive. Mean-square error (MSE) is the most widely used metric to quantify denoising performance. In parametric denoising approaches, the optimal parameters of the denoising function are chosen by employing a minimum mean-square-error (MMSE) criterion. However, the dependence of MSE on the noise-free signal makes MSE computation infeasible in practical scenarios. We circumvent the problem by adopting an MSE estimation approach. The ground-truth-independent estimates of MSE are Stein’s unbiased risk estimate (SURE), Poisson unbiased risk estimate (PURE) and Chi-square unbiased risk estimate (CURE) for AWGN, Poison and Chi-square noise models, respectively. The denoising function is optimized to achieve maximum noise suppression by minimizing the MSE estimates. We have chosen the bilateral filter as the denoising function. Bilateral filter is a nonlinear edge-preserving smoother. The performance of the bilateral filter is governed by the choice of its parameters, which can be optimized to minimize the MSE or its estimate. However, in practical scenarios, MSE cannot be computed due to inaccessibility of the noise-free image. We derive SURE, PURE, and CURE in the context of bilateral filtering and compute the parameters of the bilateral filter that yield the minimum cost (SURE/PURE/CURE). On processing the noisy input with bilateral filter whose optimal parameters are chosen by minimizing MSE estimates (SURE/PURE/CURE), we obtain the estimate closest to the ground truth. We denote the bilateral filter with optimal parameters as SURE-optimal bilateral filter (SOBF), PURE-optimal bilateral filter (POBF) and CURE-optimal bilateral filter (COBF) for AWGN, Poisson and Chi-Squared noise scenarios, respectively. In addition to the globally optimal bilateral filters (SOBF and POBF), we propose spatially adaptive bilateral filter variants, namely, SURE-optimal patch-based bilateral filter (SPBF) and PURE-optimal patch-based bilateral filter (PPBF). SPBF and PPBF yield significant improvements in performance and preserve edges better when compared with their globally-optimal counterparts, SOBF and POBF, respectively. We also propose the SURE-optimal multiresolution bilateral filter (SMBF) where we couple SOBF with wavelet thresholding. For Poisson noise suppression, we propose PURE-optimal multiresolution bilateral filter (PMBF), which is the Poisson counterpart of SMBF. We com-pare the performance of SMBF and PMBF with the state-of-the-art denoising algorithms for AWGN and Poisson noise, respectively. The proposed multiresolution-based bilateral filtering techniques yield denoising performance that is competent with that of the state-of-the-art techniques.