Statistical and perceptual properties of images and videos with applications




Sinno, Zeina

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The visual brain is optimally designed to process images from the natural environment that we perceive. Describing the natural environment statistically helps in understanding how the brain encodes those images efficiently. The Natural Scene Statistics (NSS) of the luminance component of images is the basis of several univariate statistical models. Such models were the fundamental building blocks of multiple visual applications, ranging from the design of faithful image and video quality models to the development of perceptually optimized image enhancing techniques. Towards advancing this area, I studied the bivariate statistical properties of images and developed the first of its kind closed-form model that describes the correlation of spatially separated bandpass image samples. I found that the model was useful in tackling different problems such as blindly assessing the quality of images and assessing 3D visual discomfort of stereo images. Provided the success of NSS in tackling image processing problems, I decided to use them as a tool to tackle the blind video quality assessment (VQA) problem. First, I constructed a video quality database, the LIVE Video Quality Challenge Database (LIVE-VQC). This database is the largest across several key dimensions: number of unique contents, distortions, devices, resolutions, and videographers. For collecting the subjective scores, I constructed a new framework in Amazon Mechanical Turk. A massive number of subjects from across the globe participated in my study. Those efforts resulted in a VQA database that serves as a great benchmark for real-world videos. Next, I studied the spatio-temporal statistics of a wide variety of natural videos and created a space-time completely blind VQA model that deploys a directional temporal NSS model to predict quality. My newly created model outperforms all previous completely blind VQA models on the LIVE-VQC


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