Modeling Human Perception of Image Quality
Humans can determine image quality instantly and intuitively, but the mechanism of human perception of image quality is unknown. The purpose of this work was to identify the most important quantitative metrics responsible for the human perception of digital image quality. Digital images from two different datasets—CT tomography (MedSet) and scenic photographs of trees (TreeSet)—were presented in random pairs to unbiased human viewers. The observers were then asked to select the best-quality image from each image pair. The resulting human-perceived image quality (HPIQ) ranks were obtained from these pairwise comparisons with two different ranking approaches. Using various digital image quality metrics reported in the literature, we built two models to predict the observed HPIQ rankings, and to identify the most important HPIQ predictors. Evaluating the quality of our HPIQ models as the fraction of falsely predicted pairwise comparisons (inverted image pairs), we obtained 70–71% of correct HPIQ predictions for the first, and 73–76%for the second approach. Taking into account that 10–14% of inverted pairs were already present in the original rankings, limitations of the models, and only a few principal HPIQ predictors used, we find this result very satisfactory. We obtained a small set of most significant quantitative image metrics associated with the human perception of image quality. This can be used for automatic image quality ranking, machine learning, and quality-improvement algorithms.