Digital image processing
Digital image processing is the use of computer algorithm
In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning...

s to perform image processing
Image processing
In electrical engineering and computer science, image processing is any form of signal processing for which the input is an image, such as a photograph or video frame; the output of image processing may be either an image or, a set of characteristics or parameters related to the image...

 on digital image
Digital image
A digital image is a numeric representation of a two-dimensional image. Depending on whether or not the image resolution is fixed, it may be of vector or raster type...

s. As a subcategory or field of digital signal processing
Digital signal processing
Digital signal processing is concerned with the representation of discrete time signals by a sequence of numbers or symbols and the processing of these signals. Digital signal processing and analog signal processing are subfields of signal processing...

, digital image processing has many advantages over analog image processing
Analog image processing
In electrical engineering and computer science, analog image processing is any image processing task conducted on two-dimensional analog signals by analog means ....

. It allows a much wider range of algorithms to be applied to the input data and can avoid problems such as the build-up of noise and signal distortion during processing. Since images are defined over two dimensions (perhaps more) digital image processing may be modeled in the form of multidimensional systems
Multidimensional systems
By the term multidimensional systems or m-D systems we mean the branch of systems theory where not only one variable exists , but several independent variables....



Many of the techniques of digital image processing, or digital picture processing as it often was called, were developed in the 1960s at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bell Laboratories, University of Maryland
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park is a top-ranked public research university located in the city of College Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C...

, and a few other research facilities, with application to satellite imagery
Satellite imagery
Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets made by means of artificial satellites.- History :The first images from space were taken on sub-orbital flights. The U.S-launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 took one image every 1.5 seconds...

, wire-photo standards conversion, medical imaging
Medical physics
Medical physics is the application of physics to medicine. It generally concerns physics as applied to medical imaging and radiotherapy, although a medical physicist may also work in many other areas of healthcare...

, videophone
A videophone is a telephone with a video screen, and is capable of full duplex video and audio transmissions for communication between people in real-time...

, character recognition, and photograph enhancement. The cost of processing was fairly high, however, with the computing equipment of that era. That changed in the 1970s, when digital image processing proliferated as cheaper computers and dedicated hardware became available. Images then could be processed in real time, for some dedicated problems such as television standards conversion
Television standards conversion
Television standards conversion is the process of changing one type of TV system to another. The most common is from NTSC to PAL or the other way around. This is done so TV programs in one nation may be viewed in a nation with a different standard...

. As general-purpose computers became faster, they started to take over the role of dedicated hardware for all but the most specialized and computer-intensive operations.

With the fast computers and signal processors available in the 2000s, digital image processing has become the most common form of image processing and generally, is used because it is not only the most versatile method, but also the cheapest.

Digital image processing technology for medical applications was inducted into the Space Foundation
Space Foundation
The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the global space industry through information and education programs. It is a resource for the entire space community - industry, national security organizations, civil space agencies, private space companies and the military around the...

 Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1994.


A digital image processing allows the use of much more complex algorithms for image processing, and hence, can offer both more sophisticated performance at simple tasks, and the implementation of methods which would be impossible by analog means.

In particular, digital image processing is the only practical technology for:
  • Classification
  • Feature extraction
    Feature extraction
    In pattern recognition and in image processing, feature extraction is a special form of dimensionality reduction.When the input data to an algorithm is too large to be processed and it is suspected to be notoriously redundant then the input data will be transformed into a reduced representation...

  • Pattern recognition
    Pattern recognition
    In machine learning, pattern recognition is the assignment of some sort of output value to a given input value , according to some specific algorithm. An example of pattern recognition is classification, which attempts to assign each input value to one of a given set of classes...

  • Projection
    Projection, projector, or projective may refer to:* The display of an image by devices such as:** Movie projector** Video projector** Overhead projector** Slide projector** Camera obscura** Projection screen...

  • Multi-scale signal analysis

Some techniques which are used in digital image processing include:
  • Pixelization
    Pixelization is a video- and image-editing technique in which an image is blurred by displaying part or all of it at a markedly lower resolution. It is primarily used for censorship...

  • Linear filter
    Linear filter
    Linear filters in the time domain process time-varying input signals to produce output signals, subject to the constraint of linearity.This results from systems composed solely of components classified as having a linear response....

  • Principal components analysis
    Principal components analysis
    Principal component analysis is a mathematical procedure that uses an orthogonal transformation to convert a set of observations of possibly correlated variables into a set of values of uncorrelated variables called principal components. The number of principal components is less than or equal to...

  • Independent component analysis
    Independent component analysis
    Independent component analysis is a computational method for separating a multivariate signal into additive subcomponents supposing the mutual statistical independence of the non-Gaussian source signals...

  • Hidden Markov model
    Hidden Markov model
    A hidden Markov model is a statistical Markov model in which the system being modeled is assumed to be a Markov process with unobserved states. An HMM can be considered as the simplest dynamic Bayesian network. The mathematics behind the HMM was developed by L. E...

  • Anisotropic diffusion
    Anisotropic diffusion
    In image processing and computer vision, anisotropic diffusion, also called Perona–Malik diffusion, is a technique aiming at reducing image noise without removing significant parts of the image content, typically edges, lines or other details that are important for the interpretation of the image...

  • Partial differential equations
  • Self-organizing map
    Self-organizing map
    A self-organizing map or self-organizing feature map is a type of artificial neural network that is trained using unsupervised learning to produce a low-dimensional , discretized representation of the input space of the training samples, called a map...

  • Neural networks
  • Wavelet
    A wavelet is a wave-like oscillation with an amplitude that starts out at zero, increases, and then decreases back to zero. It can typically be visualized as a "brief oscillation" like one might see recorded by a seismograph or heart monitor. Generally, wavelets are purposefully crafted to have...


Digital camera images

Digital cameras generally include dedicated digital image processing chips to convert the raw data from the image sensor into a color-corrected image in a standard image file format. Images from digital cameras often receive further processing to improve their quality, a distinct advantage that digital cameras have over film cameras. The digital image processing typically is executed by special software programs that can manipulate the images in many ways.

Many digital cameras also enable viewing of histogram
In statistics, a histogram is a graphical representation showing a visual impression of the distribution of data. It is an estimate of the probability distribution of a continuous variable and was first introduced by Karl Pearson...

s of images, as an aid for the photographer to understand the rendered brightness range of each shot more readily.


Westworld is a 1973 science fiction-thriller film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton and produced by Paul Lazarus III. It stars Yul Brynner as a lifelike robot in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, and Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as guests of the park.Westworld was the...

(1973) was the first feature film to use digital image processing to pixellate photography to simulate an android's point of view.

Intelligent transportation systems

Digital image processing has a wide applications in intelligent transportation systems, such as automatic number plate recognition
Automatic number plate recognition
Automatic number plate recognition is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read the license plates on vehicles. They can use existing closed-circuit television or road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task...

 and traffic sign recognition
Traffic sign recognition
Traffic sign recognition is a technology by which a vehicle is able to recognise the traffic signs put on the road e.g. "speed limit" or "children" or "turn ahead". This is part of the features collectively called ADAS. The idea is to improve road safety by assisting the driver. It may happen that...


See also

  • Computer graphics
    Computer graphics
    Computer graphics are graphics created using computers and, more generally, the representation and manipulation of image data by a computer with help from specialized software and hardware....

  • Computer vision
    Computer vision
    Computer vision is a field that includes methods for acquiring, processing, analysing, and understanding images and, in general, high-dimensional data from the real world in order to produce numerical or symbolic information, e.g., in the forms of decisions...

  • Digitizing
    Digitizing or digitization is the representation of an object, image, sound, document or a signal by a discrete set of its points or samples. The result is called digital representation or, more specifically, a digital image, for the object, and digital form, for the signal...

  • Comparison of image processing software
    Comparison of image processing software
    The following table provides a comparison of image processing software.* Matlab is take to include the Matlab Image Processing Toolbox...

    General-purpose computing on graphics processing units is the technique of using a GPU, which typically handles computation only for computer graphics, to perform computation in applications traditionally handled by the CPU...

  • Homomorphic filtering
    Homomorphic filtering
    Homomorphic filtering is a generalized technique for signal and image processing, involving a nonlinear mapping to a different domain in which linear filter techniques are applied, followed by mapping back to the original domain. This concept was developed in the 1960s by Thomas Stockham, Alan V....

  • Standard test image
    Standard test image
    A standard test image is a digital image file used across different institutions to test image processing and image compression algorithms. By using the same standard test images, different labs are able to compare results, both visually and quantitatively...

  • Super-resolution
    Super-resolution are techniques that enhance the resolution of an imaging system. Some SR techniques break the diffraction-limit of systems, while other SR techniques improve over the resolution of digital imaging sensor....

  • Multidimensional systems
    Multidimensional systems
    By the term multidimensional systems or m-D systems we mean the branch of systems theory where not only one variable exists , but several independent variables....

  • IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society
    IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society
    The ' is a professional society of the IEEE.- Field of Interest :The IEEE ITS Society states on its that its Field of Interest is in "theoretical, experimental and operational aspects of electrical and electronics engineering and information technologies as applied to Intelligent Transportation...

External links

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