Free software enhances images

April 25, 2013
A new web site that can be used for enlarging and enhancing photos is being made available, free of charge, from the Center for Perceptual Systems at The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX, USA).

A new web site that can be used for enlarging and enhancing photos is being made available, free of charge, from the Center for Perceptual Systems at the University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX, USA).

Professor Wilson Geisler from the university’s department of psychology said that the free image-processing website allows users to upload as many as 1,000 images daily. The site provides tools to “de-noise” images -- such as removing imperfections resulting from low light conditions -- and allows users to enlarge images without losing picture quality.

Professor Geisler developed the tools with researcher Jeff Perry of the Center for Perceptual Systems.

Unlike other photo enhancement tools, which work on an image-by-image basis, Geisler's approach -- called "image processing with natural scene statistics" -- is based on the analysis of thousands of images. Geisler and his team measured the statistical properties of those images and created an algorithm that determines what is or is not "noise" in any given photograph. Geisler said the algorithm makes corrections based on what it has “learned” from examining so many images.

In addition to improving photographs, the software could be used for enlarging and enhancing archival photos and satellite images. Geisler said those working with especially large images will benefit from the speed of his service.

"Compared with other photo-enhancement algorithms, we believe this is the best in the world for reducing noise and enlarging images, and also about 50 times faster," he says.

After agreeing to terms of service, users can immediately begin uploading photos to the web site and enhancing them in either "standard" or "expert" modes.

The "Image Processing with Natural Scene Statistics" web site can be found here.

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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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