Global Color Sparseness and a Local Statistics Prior for Fast Bilateral Filtering

Mikhail G. Mozerov, Joost Van De Weijer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015 IEEE. The property of smoothing while preserving edges makes the bilateral filter a very popular image processing tool. However, its non-linear nature results in a computationally costly operation. Various works propose fast approximations to the bilateral filter. However, the majority does not generalize to vector input as is the case with color images. We propose a fast approximation to the bilateral filter for color images. The filter is based on two ideas. First, the number of colors, which occur in a single natural image, is limited. We exploit this color sparseness to rewrite the initial non-linear bilateral filter as a number of linear filter operations. Second, we impose a statistical prior to the image values that are locally present within the filter window. We show that this statistical prior leads to a closed-form solution of the bilateral filter. Finally, we combine both ideas into a single fast and accurate bilateral filter for color images. Experimental results show that our bilateral filter based on the local prior yields an extremely fast bilateral filter approximation, but with limited accuracy, which has potential application in real-time video filtering. Our bilateral filter, which combines color sparseness and local statistics, yields a fast and accurate bilateral filter approximation and obtains the state-of-the-art results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7300435
    Pages (from-to)5842-5853
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


    • Bilateral filter
    • color image filtering
    • image enhancement

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