HDR image reconstruction from a single exposure using deep CNNs

After creating LDR images by applying simulated camera sensor saturation to real HDR photos, the authors trained a model which could perform the inverse LDR->HDR operation and also generalize to previously unseen images. What’s more, they have released their dataset which can be downloaded from their project page.

Camera sensors can only capture a limited range of luminance simultaneously, and in order to create high dynamic range (HDR) images a set of different exposures are typically combined. In this paper we address the problem of predicting information that have been lost in saturated image areas, in order to enable HDR reconstruction from a single exposure. We show that this problem is well-suited for deep learning algorithms, and propose a deep convolutional neural network (CNN) that is specifically designed taking into account the challenges in predicting HDR values. To train the CNN we gather a large dataset of HDR images, which we augment by simulating sensor saturation for a range of cameras. To further boost robustness, we pre-train the CNN on a simulated HDR dataset created from a subset of the MIT Places database. We demonstrate that our approach can reconstruct high-resolution visually convincing HDR results in a wide range of situations, and that it generalizes well to reconstruction of images captured with arbitrary and low-end cameras that use unknown camera response functions and post-processing. Furthermore, we compare to existing methods for HDR expansion, and show high quality results also for image based lighting. Finally, we evaluate the results in a subjective experiment performed on an HDR display. This shows that the reconstructed HDR images are visually convincing, with large improvements as compared to existing methods.


Source code: https://github.com/gabrieleilertsen/hdrcnn


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