In many image-processing applications the noise that corrupts the images is signal dependent, the most widely encountered types being multiplicative, Poisson, film-grain, and speckle noise. Their common feature is that the power of the noise is related to the brightness of the corrupted pixel. This results in brighter areas appearing to be noisier than darker areas. We propose a new adaptive-neighborhood approach to filtering images corrupted by signal-dependent noise. Instead of using fixed-size, fixed-shape neighborhoods, statistics of the noise and the signal are computed within variable-size, variable-shape neighborhoods that are grown for every pixel to contain only pixels that belong to the same object. Results of adaptive-neighborhood filtering are compared with those given by two local-statistics-based filters (the refined Lee filter and the noise-updating repeated Wiener filter), both in terms of subjective and objective measures. The adaptive-neighborhood approach provides better noise suppression as indicated by lower mean-squared errors as well as better retention of edge sharpness than the other approaches considered.
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