Tonal management for digital photography and video

Year 2004
Project team Fredo Durand

Better color processing

As resolution, or number of megapixels, in digital cameras reaches a plateau that matches most casual needs, better tonal and color processing are becoming crucial. Computational tools developed in this research perform tonal managements to prevent under- and over-exposure, improve tonal modeling, and enhance the overall tonal balance in photographs. They would be a crucial step in the imaging pipeline, either on board the camera or in software as a post-process. This technique springs from a previous project, supported by an Ignition Grant that demonstrated a new approach to reducing extreme contrast in digital photography. It could enhance photography in low-light conditions, as well as capture style from master photographers (e.g. Ansel Adams). The technology could have a major impact on digital photography — a $3 billion-per-year market with 25% annual growth — and video, as well as medical imaging and video surveillance, where it is crucial to ensure the visibility of all parts of an image.