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An evaluation of image reproduction algorithms for high contrast scenes on large and small screen display devices

Akyüz, Ahmet Oğuz
Aydın, Murat
Rendering high contrast scenes on display devices with limited dynamic range is a challenging task. Two groups of algorithms have emerged to take up this challenge: tone mapping operators (TMOs) and more recently exposure fusion (EF) techniques. While several formal evaluation studies comparing TMOs exist, no formal evaluation has yet been performed that compares EF techniques with each other or compares them against TMOs. Moreover, with the advancements in hand-held devices and programmable digital cameras it became possible to directly capture and view high dynamic range (HDR) content on these devices which are characterized by their small screens. However, currently very little is known about how to best visualize a high contrast scene on a small screen. Thus the primary goal of this paper is to provide answers to both of these questions by conducting a series of rigorous psychophysical experiments. Our results suggest that the best tone mapping algorithms are generally superior to EF algorithms except for the reproduction of colors. Furthermore, contrary to some previous work, we find that the differences between algorithms are barely perceptible on small screens and therefore one can opt for a simpler solution than a more complex and accurate one.