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H.264/AVC intra coding and JPEG 2000 comparison

H.264/AVC intra coding and JPEG 2000 comparison

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From Vittorio Picco and Giacomo Camperi a thorough analysis of two very popular compression format, jpeg2000 and h264, with several example images.
From Vittorio Picco and Giacomo Camperi a thorough analysis of two very popular compression format, jpeg2000 and h264, with several example images.

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Published by: Project Symphony Collection on Apr 21, 2008
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H.264/AVC intra coding and JPEG 2000 comparison
Giacomo Camperi
- giacomo.camperi@gmail.com
Master of Science in Computer and Communication Networks
Vittorio Picco
- vittorio.picco@gmail.com
Master of Science in Communication Engineering
Politecnico di Torino, ItalyApril 11, 2008
Contents
1 Introduction 22 H.264 and JPEG 2000 overview 2
2.1 H.264 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22.2 JPEG 2000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22.3 Coding software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32.3.1 JM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32.3.2 Kakadu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3 Metrics for codec comparison 3
3.1 Objective tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33.1.1 PSNR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43.1.2 Blurring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43.1.3 Blocking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43.2 Subjective tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43.2.1 DSCQS - Double Stimulus Continuous Quality Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53.2.2 DSIS - Double Stimulus Impairment Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53.3 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
4 Analysis and results 5
4.1 Objective comparisons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64.1.1 High bitrates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64.1.2 Medium bitrates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64.1.3 Low bitrates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84.2 Subjective comparisons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84.2.1 Double Stimulus Continuous Quality Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94.2.2 Double Stimulus Impairment Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
5 Conclusions 11A Test images 12B Detailed tests 13
1
 
1 Introduction
H.264 and JPEG 2000 are two modern standards for image and video compression. H.264 focus on thecoding of video sequences, but can compress images as well thanks to new Intra-coding techniques, beingable to work on single-frame videos. JPEG 2000, like is precursor JPEG, is aimed to the compression of still images, but can also work on video sequences, generating what is called Motion JPEG.Both standards are relatively new and they were designed to overcome some of the limitations of preceding codecs, which they are intended to replace. Some important features added to these standardsare aimed not only to the field of bare image compression efficiency, but to give also the user a superiorcontrol and flexibility of the image processing chain. For example JPEG 2000 allow to transmit an imagewhich has been divided in layers, so that the final user can choose which layers to download, depending onher bandwidth capabilities: the image can be scaled both in resolution and/or quality. Similarly, H.264allows scalable video coding, splitting a video sequence in multiple streams.JPEG 2000 has been developed with two main goals: achieve good performances at very low bit rates,and add the new image scalability features we just described to the former JPEG codec. These goals havebeen successfully carried out, but using quite cumbersome technologies, that makes JPEG 2000 a quitecomplex codec.The high performances of H.264 in the coding of video sequences let us ask if this standard could alsobe used for still images compression. H.264 comes as an outsider in the still image compression codecsrun. The possibility to use H.264 in a complete Intra mode, gives us the opportunity to compare thisstandard, typically used for videos, also with images, and the results are quite surprising.We will start with a brief introduction of the two standards, to understand their technical differences;then we will describe the two softwares (JM for H.264 and Kakadu for JPEG 2000) that implement thetwo standards, and the methods used to compare them; finally we will compare their performances. Forthe comparison we tried to use a not-so-classical approach. We will first compare some non-standardimages, to give the reader a general view of the two standards behaviour; then we will use standard testimages to highlight the differences between the codecs, on specific details: we will see how H.264 andJPEG 2000 handle flat, homogeneous regions, rather then a lot of small details, or again how they behavewith highly colored zones. We decided to use this approach to avoid an annoying list of PSNR values andplots, for a lot of test images.The results are showed and discussed in the Analysis and results chapter and then summarized in theConclusions chapter.
2 H.264 and JPEG 2000 overview
2.1 H.264
H.264/AVC is newest video coding standard of the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group and the ISO/IECMoving Picture Experts Group. The main goals of the H.264/AVC standardization effort are enhancedcompression performance and provision of a “network-friendly” video representation addressing “con-versational” (video telephony) and “non-conversational” (storage, broadcast, or streaming) applications.H.264/AVC has achieved a significant improvement in rate-distortion efficiency relatively to other existingstandards.Regarding our paper, the new video coding standard H.264/AVC provides a new way of still imagecoding. The improvement in coding performance comes mainly from the prediction part. Unlike pre-vious standards, prediction must be always performed before texture coding for both inter and intramacroblocks. Intra prediction significantly improves the coding performance of H.264/AVC intra framecoder.For more details on AVC please refer to [2].
2.2 JPEG 2000
JPEG 2000 is a wavelet-based image compression standard. It was created by the Joint PhotographicExperts Group committee in the year 2000 with the intention of superseding their original discrete cosinetransform-based JPEG standard (created about 1991). It supports some important features such as2
 
improved compression efficiency, lossless and lossy compression, multi-resolution representation, RegionOf Interest (ROI) coding, error resilience and a flexible file format.The aim of JPEG 2000 is not only improved compression performance over JPEG but also adding (orimproving) features such as scalability and editability. In fact, JPEG 2000’s improvement in compressionperformance relative to the original JPEG standard is actually rather modest and should not ordinarilybe the primary consideration for evaluating the design. Very low and very high compression rates aresupported in JPEG 2000. In fact, the graceful ability of the design to handle a very large range of effectivebit rates is one of the strengths of JPEG 2000.Motion JPEG 2000 (often referenced as MJ2 or MJP2) is the leading digital film standard currentlysupported by Digital Cinema Initiatives (a consortium of most major studios and vendors) for the storage,distribution and exhibition of motion pictures. Unlike common video codecs, such as MPEG-4, WMV, andDivX, MJ2 does not employ temporal or inter-frame compression. Instead, each frame is an independententity encoded by either a lossy or lossless variant of JPEG 2000.For more details on AVC please refer to [1].
2.3 Coding software
2.3.1 JM
JM 13.2 is the reference software used for compression, it is written by the Fraunhofer Institute in Clanguage and its source code is freely available. Its the reference encoder, meaning its not optimized inany way for speed, but the implementation is safe and compliant to the standard; all parameters andcompression techniques are correctly taken into account.For our purposes the encoder was configured to use CABAC, LevelIDC 5.1, High profile 4:4:4 subsam-pling, intraprofile enabled, no loopfilter and no rate control. Also, to ensure that the image was consideredas a unique slice, we forced fixed number of macroblocks per image and no more that 9216 was allowed.This limited our image size to about 1536x1536 equivalent area. Quality scaling was achieved modifyingthe QP parameter, computing the corresponding bitrate and setting the JPEG 2000 encoder accordingly.
2.3.2 Kakadu
Kakadu is an implementation of Part 1 of the JPEG 2000 standard. It should be fully compliant withProfile-1, Class-2, as defined in Part 4 of the standard, which describes compliance. Kakadu is platformindependent, and poses a special focus on computational efficiency, because of the complexity of the JPEG2000 algorithm.In our tests, we used the Windows version, that comes as a command line program. The usage of Kakadu is straightforward and, theoretically, does not require any knowledge of the standard it imple-ments. The two basic executable files that we used are
kdu compress
to create compressed files, and
kdu expand 
to extract the coded files so as to measure the resulting image quality.The input file may be of many formats, also
bmp
is accepted and we used it. The output file iseither
jp2
or
jpx
. The desired coding rate is simply expressed in bpp, and passed as a parameter to the
kdu compress
executable; the
no info
option is used to avoid that the program writes useless informationin the output file header, so as to obtain the minimum possible file size.To know the details of the Kakadu software implementation, please refer to [3].
3 Metrics for codec comparison
We call metrics all the tests, both objective and subjective, that are carried out in order to
measure
theperformance of an algorithm.
3.1 Objective tests
The objective metrics are aimed to give us a rigorous and scientific measure of the quality of the codedimages. To make this analysis we used the free tool
MSU Video Quality Measurement Tool 
, that providesa large number of indicators. This tool is aimed to measure video sequences, but we chose it because of 3

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