Color image processing is one of the newest and most exciting areas of electronic image processing. Until recently, the computing hardware required to store and manipulate color images was limited to a special few. Today, it is not uncommon to find a standard desktop computer system with a true-color 24-bit display, at least 8 million bytes of memory, and 2 gigabytes of hard disk storage. The use of desktop color scanners and color printers attached to a desktop computer system are also becoming commonplace. The demand has increased to integrate both color and black and white images into presentations and documents. The new operating systems that are being used with these desktop computer systems are integrating to make it easier to transfer color images from one application to another. Several completely electronic photography systems have appeared in recent years that totally eliminate the use of film and chemicals. An image is acquired by an electronic camera, digitized, and then stored digitally within the camera. These images are then transferred at a later time to a desktop computer for processing and inclusion in documents. Even though they presently do not have the resolution of film, they are becoming quite popular because of the speed with which images can be acquired and placed within a document or presentation.
This chapter first presents the fundamentals of color followed by a discussion of several commonly used color models. Next, several examples of using color image processing will be given, including the correction of the tint and saturation, the spatial filtering, the detection of edges, the histogram equalization, and the color white balancing of color images. The final section discusses a technique known as pseudocoloring used to highlight specific graylevels in a grayscale image in color to enhance important features so that they are clearly observable.
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