Pixel saturation, in which the incident light at a pixel causes one of the color channels of the camera sensor to respond at its maximum value, can produce undesirable artifacts in digital color images. We present a Bayesian algorithm that estimates what the saturated channel’s value would have been in the absence of saturation. The algorithm uses the nonsaturated responses from the other color channels, together with a multivariate normal prior that captures the correlation in response across color channels. The prior may be estimated directly from the image data, since most image pixels are not saturated. Given the prior and the responses of the nonsaturated channels, the algorithm returns the optimal expected mean square estimate for the true response. Extensions of the algorithm to the case in which more than one channel is saturated are also discussed. Both simulations and examples with real images are presented to show that the algorithm is effective.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 18, 2004
Revised Manuscript: July 21, 2004
Manuscript Accepted: July 21, 2004
Published: December 1, 2004
Xuemei Zhang and David H. Brainard, "Estimation of saturated pixel values in digital color imaging," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 21, 2301-2310 (2004)