Contrast Sensitivity of the Wavelet, Dual Tree Complex Wavelet, Curvelet and Steerable Pyramid Transforms

Paul R Hill, Alin M Achim, Mohammed Ebrahim Al-Mualla, David Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
692 Downloads (Pure)


Accurate estimation of the contrast sensitivity of the human visual system is crucial for perceptually based image processing in applications such as compression, fusion and denoising. Conventional Contrast Sensitivity Functions (CSFs) have been obtained using fixed sized Gabor functions. However, the basis functions of multiresolution decompositions such as wavelets often resemble Gabor functions but are of variable size and shape. Therefore to use conventional contrast sensitivity functions in such cases is not appropriate. We have therefore conducted a set of psychophysical tests in order to obtain the contrast sensitivity function for a range of multiresolution transforms: the Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT), the Steerable Pyramid, the Dual-Tree Complex Wavelet Transform (DT-CWT) and the Curvelet Transform. These measures were obtained using contrast variation of each transforms' basis functions in a 2AFC experiment combined with an adapted version of the QUEST psychometric function method. The results enable future image processing applications that exploit these transforms such as signal fusion, super-resolution processing, denoising and motion estimation, to be perceptually optimised in a principled fashion. The results are compared to an existing vision model (HDR-VDP2) and are used to show quantitative improvements within a denoising application compared to using conventional CSF values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2739-2751
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number6
Early online date11 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2016


  • Discrete wavelet transforms
  • Contrast Sensitivity Function


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