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True Color in Real Time: The Challenge of Mobile Imaging

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the shutter-bug dept.

Handhelds 67

rocannon writes "A mobile phone with a color display and built-in camera - it's the quintessential info-imaging tool. But communicating accurate color at high-speed data rates and rendering color on displays that do not deliver even standard screen color rendition are still challenging. Kodak explains why photo and color science are as important as clock speeds and data rates in this expanding market."

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I got moderated up yesterday! (-1)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372669)

It was really neat!

Oh yes, FP.

Re:I got moderated up yesterday! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4372687)

Get modded up a bunch, then you can troll at +2.

Finally (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4372671)

My linked list GUI is done!

Brave new pr0n (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4372678)

Fleshtones are historically the biggest photography challenge. Glad to see that Kodak is leading the way to the pr0n of the future!

Superiority of Analog (1)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372679)

For things like this that rely on the accuracy of color, I believe analog will always (or at least for a long while) be the way to go. There is so many ways that a color can be distorted, but when it's on a simple swab of paper, the only variable is the light source. Perhaps an analog/digital combination is the best approach?

Re:Superiority of Analog (3, Interesting)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372717)

Have a look at 10 years old pictures or printouts. Especially those exhibited to light. Make that 10 months for printouts.

Digital images aren't distorted, they just don't fit our colour perception. (AFAIK, among others, more a logarithmic scale in contrast to the linear used in digital images)

Re:Superiority of Analog (2)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373153)

Digital images aren't distorted, they just don't fit our colour perception. (AFAIK, among others, more a logarithmic scale in contrast to the linear used in digital images)
Actually, nonlinear storage/transmission of colour intensity is quite common (aka gamma). TVs use it and most computer systems do too. For a very good description of this field try Charles Poynton's Colour and Gamma FAQs [inforamp.net]

Re:Superiority of Analog (5, Interesting)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372722)

Not exactly... many films lean towards more green or red, and there are a lot more variables involved than the light source. Differences in developing can also make a very noticable difference in colour. Even so-called black and white images often have a green, blue or reddish cast to them. (I stare at photos all day at my job, professional and not.) The age and quality of the developing fluids, etc, all factor in. As someone who photographs a lot of artwork, I probably see this a bit more often than a lot of people. I usually have to take anywhere from 3-6 photos to get one that looks suitably like the original artwork. I often still have to digitally alter them once they're scanned, anyway. So as far as colour is concerned, I don't think the quality is any better between analog and digital, esp. for the average person (myself included) who doesn't do their own developing and doesn't have much more than a point-and-click knowledge of cameras.

I do agree with you that analog is still currently superior to digital, but that's mostly to do with the fact that the really impressive digital cameras are way beyond the price range of most people, and the less expensive ones leave enough to be desired that film still has the advantage.

Re:Superiority of Analog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4372951)

I stare at photos all day at my job
Sounds like a great job. I'm assuming the pictures are pr0n, right?

BW Colour cast? (2)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373978)

Not likelyl. However if it was a BW image PRINTED on colour paper (developed via RA-4) then yes, you can get a colour tone to it
There are other possibilities. A true BW image is silver based - what you see are fixed silver grains. You could have that printed selenium toned, which would give you a slightly purple print and leave behind Selenium Sulfide (i think...)... which is the most practical permanent print you can make. No way for that to be oxidized and removed... very very permanent.

Now you've also mentioned development of film- yes. This plays quite a roll but believe it or not film is developed (as in research) to be quite tolerant of processing mistakes. Yeah you can give film a colour cast thru improper development but more likely than not what you are seeing is a printing error. The Pro lab I used to work for charged $4.00 for a 4x6 that was custom printed. Yes you bet that skin tone was dead on- a 4x6 machine print cost $0.46. I could make 10 of those for the same cost, and probably get to the right tone, but then you are limited by machine buttons (which was I believe 15% increments, or about 10cc (colour correction) filter levels).

Most all developing fluids are seasoned (you refer to them as aged). Thats out of necessity- it's far cheaper to buy and replenish than to mix anew, and it's also more reliable from a standpoint of quality. Occasionally you have to dump a tank and start over but that's a very traumatic experience for all involved (and usually involves running lots of seasoner (exposed but unimportant film/paper) to bring the Bromide levels back to normal).

The biggest problem in photo is metamerism from your description- how can you get a system with 3 dyes to mimic what you see in artwork where the spectrals are all over the place.... even with extremely careful colour management you are going to suffer. I think there is a place that uses 10 inks to reproduce artwork (might be you?)... it's difficult, expensive, laborious but gives great results. It's all about covering the spectrum... and 3 is good, but 10 is much better :)

Anyway, I've rambled quite far from BW colour casts.... post processing is most likely responsible for it.

Re:Superiority of Analog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4374363)

Film grain will only have more resolution than digital for a couple more years. Moores Law applys here too.

Re:Superiority of Analog (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372952)

but when it's on a simple swab of paper, the only variable is the light source.

Yeah, obviously the color on a piece of paper is going to stay constant with constant light, but how do you propose to transfer that image without color loss in the 'analog' world? Obviously a lot of things are going to affect transfer from medium to medium. Probably more so then in the digital medium. After all, an image might look different on different monitors, but the data stays exactly the same.

Btw, this is kind of an annoyance of mine, what's' the deal with calling film cameras 'analog'? They don't use analog electrical signals, a more proper term would be "optical", "Chemical" or even "photographic". Chemical would probably be the best term, since photographic is kind of generic.

Anyway, electro-analog images are terrible at color correction, there's a reason people call NTSC (our analog TV standard) Never Twice the Same Color. And even if it did have good color correction, we are certainly not about to start using NTSC or some other analog image format with our digital cellphones!

Re:Superiority of Analog (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374080)

I work at a very large studio/school oriented photo developing lab. Color is everything, and now almost the entire process is done digitally. Optical had its advantages but with the increasing density in modern CCDs those advantages are fading very very quickly. The technology is currently to the point where we switched over from an all optical process to an all digital process and our customers (professional studios and photographers) didn't even notice. There are color profiles and color transforms that can render the color in far higher fidelity digitally than could have ever been achieved optically. And there are some types of color transforms which just can't be done with optical development. Albeit, there are obvious limitations to the digital technology, but those only have to do with the non-continuous nature of having discrete values representing image information (of course, to a degree, film grain mimics this digital nature so after CCD resolutions get high enough there would be no advantage to using optical at all). Anyways, just my two cents.

Re:Superiority of Analog (2)

phliar (87116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4377570)

How do you propose we use "analog" for transmitting real-time colour video on mobile phones and PDAs? After all, that is the problem being discussed here!

Don't forget that broadcast TV is analog. PAL, NTSC etc. are atrocious for accurate colour. When we want accurate colour, we adjust gamma etc. and match colour profiles end to end or use systems like Pantone. We use calibrated light sources. We use carefully selected emulsions and develop them carefully.

In this application we don't want accurate colour; we want colour that's inoffensive to human visual perception, i.e. renders skin tones decently, and no banding or obvious posterisation. You don't care if your car's colour -- the exact shade of blue -- is not accurately depicted on your friend's Palm Pilot.

We all know why photo science is important (2, Funny)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372680)

.... porn!

Re:We all know why photo science is important (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4372712)

Who needs porn when you've got pr0n?

For once porn doesn't matter (1)

Cardbox (165383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372847)

... because in porn (well, most porn) skin tones occupy a large area of the image, and are therefore well served by existing algorithms.

Re:For once porn doesn't matter (2, Funny)

Y-Leen (84208) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373137)

I heard on the news today that Ulrika Johnson was caught pleasuring herself with a mobile phone!

Not the first time she has taken advantage of an Ericsson!!

yet another repeat... (0)

that_goatse_guy (611306) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372713)

We already read about this here [lycos.co.uk] two weeks ago.

who cares... (2, Interesting)

Dri (16940) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372721)

Most geeks don't care about design/looks or anything else poingting in that direction. Geeks want features before fashion. Why should the geek care why the little distorted image looks like a smeared out stamp, the point is that the geek can take the picture, that's it, end of story. I've seen loads of cases when people spend a fortune on their computers and graphicscard. Monitor? The cheapest, biggest.. i.e sampo, samtron or hyundai. Big time degradation (spell) in image quality. On top of that, go buy a no name GeForce card and IT's like watching a TV from the late '80. Put a SONY screen with a Matrox card next to a Sampo with a noname geforce card... Yikes! Oh, I'm not a geek, i'm a perfectionist (spell)

spell... (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372981)

You know, they have software that does your spelling for you know.

But yeah, I know what you mean, there is a huge difference in image quality between various monitors and video cards. I used to have a really nice Acer monitor (nice in image quality, anyway, not in it's ability to not fall apart...). I put a cheap S3 video card in there (after they got their 3d act together) and the fucking image rippled at high resolutions. It was ridiculous!

Re:spell... (0)

Dri (16940) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373073)

> You know, they have software that does your spelling for you know.

Hmm.. doesn't seem to make the sentence make sense. *lol*

Re:who cares... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4373069)

You're clueless

But then again most people who post here are...

Re:who cares... (0)

Dri (16940) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373088)

You're a geek.

But then again most people who post here are...

Yeah, and that's where the money is, right? (2)

CrystalFalcon (233559) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373398)

You're right, geeks care more about features. And we all know, that to make the really big money, you need to capture the geek crowd, right?

Wrong.

The mass market for mobile telephony lies with the teenagers. Not only that, but fashion-aware teenagers. (For a significant part, this even means "females".)

Sorry to be so blunt, but your market segment is not significant when writing the requirements for a mass-market mobile product.

The answer to... (2, Interesting)

jukal (523582) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372726)

...why photo and color science are as important as clock speeds and data rates in this expanding market

Because otherwise Kodak's business would suck. With this magical message, they can make use of this [uspto.gov] (System and method for generating a universal palette) (and the other 13696 Kodak patents [uspto.gov] ?

That's a patent on dithering! (2)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374092)

Damn. U.S. Patent 5,664,080 [uspto.gov] is a patent on the dithering that paint programs have been doing for as long as I can remember. The first claim covers reserving some entries for the GUI, finding a set of colors that best represent the original image, and dithering the image using a repeating halftone pattern. Most paint programs that I have used use this algorithm.

Phones and color screens?? (1)

mustangdavis (583344) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372729)

Can anyone say "1-900-***-****"??

Of course, now they'll actually need to have good looking women on the other end of the line (or they'll need to "borrow" pics of good looking women from a "reputable" porn site

Ahhhh, a whole new world! (of porn) :)

Kill the niggers and the jews (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4372737)

Great! (5, Funny)

tjensor (571163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372743)

So they solve data rates, they solve porcessor speed, they solve image quality - now I can really quickly download high quality images for the 10 minutes my battery lasts!

It's not all about porn (2, Interesting)

banana fiend (611664) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372786)

Skin tones are hard to do because the visual cortex is wired to recognise humans and spots inconsistencies pretty quickly. I've been working with a friend who produces MMS applications for the Nokia 7650.

One of the applications was a slot machine, and it looked great! The colors are simple, and it came out fine. A lot of the content of the internet is still made up of text and icons, which don't have very stringent requirements on color.

We're still going to see a lot of money being put into palletizing for swapping photos of family and loved (in oh so many ways) ones.

hello = you = sucks (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372803)

These groceries were packed with care by

Re:hello = you = sucks (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#4380516)

Hello. Click [slashdot.org] . I know you can do it :)

Quintessential? Bah. (4, Interesting)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372808)

It's all more videophone sillyness. Very low res, no focus, bad optics, no imaging options, 14kbit on most lines outside of huge cities, what's the point? I can take and email much nicer photos just fine with iPhoto and a real camera. This video cell phone thing is yet another attempt to catch star eyed gadgeteers in a trap of mediocrity for the sake of modularity. "The essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form?" Concentrated, maybe. Pure? Not half.

This is almost as dumb as "wireless web." WML sucks, guys. It's even more confusing that the regular web's interface, and 40% of people don't understand that. Combine it with the size limit on WML pages (1400 bytes is the max through tmobile's gateway, and the goddamn XML headers take up 100. Hell, this post wouldn't sneak in under 1300 characters!) and you've got a confusing, bland interface with no real data. Hardly the killer app that's going to change the world.

Give me a cell phone with no dumb games, a nice address book, sizable buttons, a clean look with no precarious plastic, plug & play USB interface that works with mac/linux/palm/pocketpc, and a phone plan that doesn't try to put its tongue in my ear every time I do something interesting and you'll have solved the cell phone puzzle. I'll gladly give you my $40 per month.

Re:Quintessential? Bah. (1)

BaronVonDuvet (612870) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372874)

Agreed. I use a phone for talking and a bit of text messaging. The novelty of the games wears off after about 5 minutes. It's much more important to have features such as a good UI. Besides, what's the point with all this cameras on phones thing. I've never seen anyone try to put a phone on a camera. Probably be much easier as cameras tend to be bigger!

how about SERVICE instead of FEATURES (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373805)

the biggest problem with cell phones is that the companies who hawk them don't offer decent service and their billing practices are worse than even the least reputable credit card scam

i've had a cellphone 2 times and both times it ended ina percieved breach of contract by them on my part because they're so fucking incompetent, even now after over a year of having no cell phone service (besides road side assistance what reason do i have for being tracked by everyone who knows me??) i'm still dealing with a collections agency who has been sicked on my by Cingular (formerly Cellular One) for a $100 when they still OWE ME $200+ from my deposit which they flat out stole from me and I have no recourse

I talked to the engineer who designed verizon's 56k datapaths (he taught my datacomm class at a community college in indianapolis) and he was the first one to tell me to avoid them like the plague and gave numerous examples of their unscrupulous behavior as well

why not take that $50 a month and do something useful with it like investing it or anything other than funding huge evil corporations

i've even seen people picketing with signs out in front of cellphone stores here in cincinnati trying to ward people away from the absolutely vicious and illegal practices which they *all* have.. when someone is that dedicated, to take time off of work and have his kids there with signs as well you know that he got fucked over and ii'm sure he and i and a lot of you are not alone.. so ask yourself do you really need that cell phone? and if so you do you really need one that has shitty distorted video and a 1 hour battery? why not get a pre paid phone for emergencies and tell them to go fuck themselves for the rest

Re:how about SERVICE instead of FEATURES (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373816)

i meant to add that i have no recourse because i didn't keep my contract for 3 fucking years in a safety deposit box somewhere so that i could contest what they're doing

and it cut off my /rant at the bottom ;)

New tech, higher prices (1)

lemmen (48986) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372818)

I'm kinda concerned because all these new technologies:

* New Technologies leads to New Phones with more features
* New features results in more bandwidth
* More bandwidth equals higher prices

The consumer is the one who has to pay for all the high quality images send by the phone. This BTW also is the case for MMS. Consumers are paying quite a lot for the GPRS bandwidth used. This will eventually grow when UMTS comes to the world.

The laughing 3rd party is of course the Telco, their network already accepts these Features and can charge their customers only more for the used data.

Just my 2 cents.

Lemming

Mirror for Lazy Linux slackers (-1)

RestonVA (593792) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372845)

True Color in Real Time: The Challenge of Mobile Imaging [Extracted from J. Luo, A. Singhal, G. Braun, R. T. Gray, O. Seignol, and N. Touchard; "Displaying images on mobile devices: Capabilities, issues, and solutions"; Special Session on Wireless Imaging, Proceedings of 2002 International Conference on Image Processing, September 22-25, Rochester, NY. http://icip2002.com] It seems so simple and so obvious: a camera in your device let's you take a picture. Then you send it - just like a text message or e-mail. Wireless imaging, using your cell phone or other hand-held device to send, receive, and view images, is everywhere in advertising. It's the latest manifestation of the convergence of imaging and information technologies. And it's fraught with challenges. The major technical challenges are obvious: Connection bandwidth Coverage area Error correction Power supply Multiple standards Rendering/display Image management Ease of use No so obvious is the combination of imaging and color technologies that must be embedded in these devices, affecting the immediate perception of image quality. Many of these devices simply cannot display all the colors in an input image, because the input image must be stored in a memory buffer with a reduced bit-depth. In addition, representing an image at a reduced bit-depth can reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for transmission or the amount of memory needed to store an image - both useful in mobile communications. Just over a decade ago, many computers used an 8-bit color palette to store an image that was to be displayed on screen. Such representations allow only 256 unique color values. This is significantly less than the 16,777,216 possible color values associated with a typical 24-bit color image. This problem has attracted renewed interest with the recent boom of cell phones and \personal digital assistants. The problem is even more acute for these hand-held devices, owing to their severely limited display size. Tables 1 & 2 present a summary of some of the popular handheld devices (PDAs and cell-phones) along with their OS, display resolution, color bit-depth, and other characteristics. Dithering & Palettization Color palettization refers to the conversion of an image containing a larger set of possible colors to an image with a different (perhaps reduced) set of palette colors. For example, a typical 24-bit input image could have millions of colors, whereas a typical 8-bit color palette has only 256 colors. It is most desirable to determine the set of palette colors based on the distribution of colors in the input image. Furthermore, preserving important colors, such as human skin tones, in the palettized image is critical. One common, simple color palette ("websafe" palette) sets six levels of quantization in each of the three color channels (red, green, and blue). Other fixed color palettes have also been developed. Using any fixed color palette will result in an image that has quantization errors that can produce visible contours in the image. In addition, a specific image may not contain colors in all parts of the color space. As a result, there may be some of the 256 color values that never get used, and the effects of quantization errors are more visible. One way to limit the visibility of the quantization errors is to use a multi-level halftoning algorithm to preserve the local mean of the color value [1]. Since halftoning essentially trades spatial resolution for bit-depth, it is typically not suitable for very small displays, although it is a viable option for PDAs with larger screens (e.g., 8-bit 320 x 240). An alternative approach is to select the palette of colors on the basis of the distribution of color values in the specific image. This approach avoids wasting color values that will never be used to represent that particular image. One such method is vector quantization (VQ), which involves the selection of an initial color palette, followed by an iterative refinement scheme [2]. Another VQ method [3] starts with all of the colors of an image and groups colors into clusters by merging one nearest neighbor pair of clusters at a time until the number of clusters equals the desired number of palette colors. A third class of VQ methods uses splitting techniques to divide the color space into smaller sub-regions and selects a representative palette color from each sub-region [4]. In general, splitting techniques are computationally more efficient than either the iterative or merging techniques and can provide a structure to the color space that enables efficient pixel mapping at the output stage. While VQ mechanisms can yield more visually appealing images, they are computationally intensive. A sequential scalar quantization (SSQ) method, proposed by Allebach et al. [4], partitions a histogram of the distribution of the input colors into a number of sub-regions or color space cells, such that each partitioned color cell is associated with a color in the output color palette. This approach is more efficient computationally than vector quantization schemes. We chose to use SSQ as the underlying color palettization method in our image-rendering scheme. Image-dependent palettization methods offer significant advantage in that they assign palette colors based on the distribution of input colors, choosing colors that represent the most commonly occurring hues in a particular image. This approach reduces the average quantization errors throughout the image, although there may still be large quantization errors in important image regions. For example, consider an image containing a human face that only occupies a small image area. The number of pixels that represent skin-tone colors may be relatively small, and therefore, the likelihood that adequate palette colors are assigned to skin-tone colors is low. As a result, when the image is represented by the set of chosen palette colors, there may be objectionable colors or contours in the face. Because this image region may be very important to an observer, these artifacts may be much more objectionable than they would have been if they had occurred elsewhere in the image. Existing techniques do not provide any mechanism for minimizing the quantization artifacts in these important regions unless they are large enough to comprise a significant portion of the color distribution. Recently, Kodak image scientists developed a way to meet these goals by supplementing the distribution of the input colors with a distribution of selected "important" colors [5]. In particular, they found they could supplement skin tones by appending image skin-tone patches generated from a statistical sampling of the skin color probability density function. A major advantage of this approach is that explicit skin detection, which can be error prone, is avoided. In addition, this approach is useful with any color palettization scheme. Subjective evaluation has shown the efficacy of this scheme. Once the set of palette colors is determined, a palettized color image can be generated. Generally, the palette color for each pixel of the image will be identified by an index value indicating which palette color should be used for that pixel. For example, if there are 256 palette colors used for a particular image, each pixel of the output image can be represented by an 8-bit number, i.e., palette index, in the range 0-255. When the image is displayed, the palette index can be used to determine the corresponding color value (red, green, and blue) for each of the palette colors. There are a few key observations based on the above study. First, sequential scalar quantization is effective (and extremely fast); the custom 240-color palette by SSQ (16 Windows system colors are preserved) handsomely beats a fixed "Web Safe" palette (6 quantization levels in each channel). Second, the introduction of supplementary skin colors leads to significantly better rendition of human skin areas without, in general, adversely affecting other areas. The latter is mostly because each supplemented skin color patch is small enough to not claim a color in the palette unless it also occurs in the image. The size of individual patches scales with the size of the input image while the total number of patches remains constant. References [1] R. S. Gentile, E. Walowit, and J. P. Allebach, "Quantization and multilevel halftoning of color images for near original image quality," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 7, 1019- 1026, 1990. [2] R. S. Gentile, J. P. Allebach, and E. Walowit, "Quantization of color images based on uniform color spaces," J. Imaging Technol. 16, 11-21, 1990. [3] R. Balasubramanian et al., "A new approach to palette selection for color images," J. Imaging Technol. 17, 284-290, 1991. [4] J. P. Allebach et al., "Sequential product code quantization of digital color image," U.S. Patent 5,544,284. [5] J. Luo, K. Spaulding, and Q. Yu, "A novel color palettization scheme for preserving important colors," submitted to SPIE Conference on Electronic Imaging, 2003. [6] A. D. Cropper, R. S. Cok, and R. D. Feldman, "Organic LED System and Applications", SPIE 4105, 19-29, 2000.

Kodak article for the nontechnical (2, Funny)

panurge (573432) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372862)

"Mobile phones have screens that suck, feeble processors and not enough bandwidth. So you need to be really clever to transmit a picture of someone that doesn't look weird. Give us lots of money and we might tell you how to do it".

Re:Kodak article for the nontechnical (2)

Y-Leen (84208) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373113)

And in the meantime operators [3gnewsroom.com] will sell you sucky res cameras for your overpriced phone [t-mobile.co.uk] . Oh and charge you an extra 20 ukp a month [t-mobile.co.uk] to send them to your one friend who was conned into buying one too.

Ohhh... (2, Interesting)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372885)

Recently, Kodak image scientists developed a way to meet these goals by supplementing the distribution of the input colors with a distribution of selected "important" colors [5]. In particular, they found they could supplement skin tones by appending image skin-tone patches generated from a statistical sampling of the skin color probability density function. A major advantage of this approach is that explicit skin detection, which can be error prone, is avoided.

Sounds like this will be great for photographs of white people!

Re:Ohhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4373746)

I can't for the life of me find the information on the web--nor the cited article [grumble] but I recall a discussion that the skin-tone colors that span all races refers to a narrow band of color values (i.e. color angles on the color wheel). Within that band, saturation and lightness more strongly define the appearance.

Assuming you have a tool like Photoshop, try this. With a picture of a caucasian person, use the color selection tool ("magic wand") to select the skin-colored areas. With those areas selected, use the Hue/Saturation/Lightness control and adjust the lightness of the selected area darker. This will make their skin appear to be simply darker, but note how it appears the tone is close to that of blacks, depending on how far you work the slider (try adjusting the saturation too for better results). Likewise, the reverse can be done with a black person and lightening their skin to make them look white. Of course, this trick really only works on correctly exposed images--washed out images or too dark images are simply black or white and contain no color information to extrapolate from.

Re:Ohhh... (1)

Javit (68742) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373793)

I would think that without access to their "statistical sampling," one could not tell whether it favors any particular complexion.

Mobile camming (4, Insightful)

TheSync (5291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4372950)

My wife has used a mobile [thesync.com] webcam [thesync.com] I built from a tablet computer, a USB microcam, using CDPD communications.

One of the biggest problems we found was battery power, always a problems with computers, but enhanced due to the power sucked by the webcam (lots of pixels to move to the computer at high bandwidth, even if they are just to be compressed using JPEG), and the power sucked by CDPD transmission. Of course, the cam was sending out an image every 5 minutes or so, and the camera was "always on."

I think the naysayers on the camera wireless phones are totally wrong. I don't expect everyone to purchase a camera phone, but I think a lot of people (especially young people and several business niches) will. It's really fun!

The uses of a camera phone do not intersect much with a high-quality megapixel digital camera used for "archival quality" pictures. PhoneCams will be used much more for quick little shots where quality matters little...a bunch of friends at a bar (which will totally change Mardi Gras!), to show a potential purchase while shopping, to show a map with directions, to see if you like the night club, or a "hey I'm in Vegas, look" call while travelling.

Re:Mobile camming (2, Insightful)

droleary (47999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373710)

PhoneCams will be used much more for quick little shots where quality matters little...

So the market is people who don't really need pictures at all? Good luck with that. It seems to me this "feature", just like text messaging, is being pushed by a culture that just doesn't understand Americans. Just because SMS is all the rage in Norway and the Japan has the highest per capita camera ownership doesn't mean some asshole American like myself simply doesn't want to have just a phone to, you know, fucking talk to people. If you want to have these devices Bluetooth (or whatever) data to each other, fine. But it makes me sick to think where cell phones could be if only they'd focus on the phone instead of trying to make it a GameBoy, too.

Re:Mobile camming (2)

aallan (68633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374068)

Good luck with that. It seems to me this "feature", just like text messaging, is being pushed by a culture that just doesn't understand Americans. Just because SMS is all the rage in Norway and the Japan...

SMS has has a major cultural impact in the UK, over 750 million messages are now sent every month in the UK. There are lots of circumstances where sending a quick text message is alot more convenient that trying to call someone who may be busy doing other things. Like email the asynchronous nature of text messaging has advantages at times.

Appart from the fact the that the US mobile infrastructure is still pretty much in the stone age, I'd love to know why SMS hasn't taken off in the States? Pretty much everyone else around the world thinks they're a good idea. What's different about American culture that you guys don't?

Al.

America..... (1)

s.fontinalis (580601) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374155)

What's different about American culture that you guys don't?
__________________________________________ ______

Are fingers are too Fing fat to use the textpad!

Seriously though - I think the interface has alot to do with lack of use. No one I've ever met (aside from some 12 year olds) is willing to punch in a message on a 9 key keypad. It just isn't worth it.

If you couple this with our cultural propensity for rudeness - if our phones on, we're going to talk on it. It doesn't matter where - school, restauraunts, church! It doesn't give much of a reason for us to text.

Text messages. (2)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374861)

It seems to me this "feature", just like text messaging, is being pushed by a culture that just doesn't understand Americans. Just because SMS is all the rage in Norway and the Japan has the highest per capita camera ownership doesn't mean some asshole American like myself simply doesn't want to have just a phone to, you know, fucking talk to people.

SMS is great for the same reason email is great - it's asynchronus. I *could* leave a voicemail message asking a friend when/if we're meeting for dinner, but text messaging is far simpler. Most of the time, we're either working or in some other setting where the phone is turned off, so you can't "just talk to people" very easily.

Re:Text messages. (2)

droleary (47999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4377044)

I *could* leave a voicemail message asking a friend when/if we're meeting for dinner, but text messaging is far simpler.

Come again? Try:

"Duck, this is Doc. Sushi's moved back to 9. See you then." (10 seconds, tops)

vs.

3#88222550777788777744 4440280... (I spent a minute on just this part)

Sorry, but that isn't nearly as simple in my book (or the book of millions of others, it seems). You could argue the usefulness of a full keyboard, but then you go adding the bulk of that (even the fold out ones with tiny keys are cumbersome) to what should simply be a phone. I love the fact that I can send actual email to my phone, but I don't ever see sending a message from it because the input is so awkward. Likewise, they better have a killer app for a picture phone before they go touting it as a feature. The prediction of videophone breakthroughs has been constant for decades, but without a cultural buy-in, it's wasted effort.

Re:Text messages. (2)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 11 years ago | (#4378847)

Come again? Try:

"Duck, this is Doc. Sushi's moved back to 9. See you then." (10 seconds, tops)

vs.

3#88222550777788777744 4440280... (I spent a minute on just this part)


You're trying to type something as verbose as what you'd say. Try something like:

"Sushi at 9"

You're also leaving out waiting through four rings and a "hi, I'm not in" to leave the message, which alone is likely enough for me to type the above. Then waiting through "welcome to FooPhone's automated voice messaging system", "You have Qux new messages", etc. to retrieve the reply.

I find leaving and retrieving voicemail far more cumbersome and time-consuming. YMMV.

Re:Text messages. (2)

droleary (47999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4379352)

"Duck, this is Doc. Sushi's moved back to 9. See you then." (10 seconds, tops)
vs.
"Sushi at 9"

You can't really tout losing all context as being an advantage. If we were supposed to eat at 8, my message is clear while your message leaves my friend wondering if I mistyped or if they're going to be waiting for an hour. That means it's just the start of an annoying text exchange. To clarify exactly what is happening.

You're also leaving out waiting through four rings and a "hi, I'm not in" to leave the message, which alone is likely enough for me to type the above.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you know the difference between a busy wait and an interrupt. You're justifying (wrongly) the same thing people say in interface studies where they'll do something with the keyboard and they'll think it's faster than the mouse when it only seems faster because the time is split up into discrete events to focus on. Checking/leaving voicemail is not a busy wait; I can be walking down the street and do it. And if you think people driving with cell phones is dangerous, just imagine all those chuckleheads out there trying to peck out a text message while driving.

Sorry, but you haven't made a compelling argument in favor of text messaging in this society. It just doesn't fit. Now if everyone was taking mass transit, yes pervasive SMS would beat trying to talk over other people on an already noisy bus/train. Same thing goes with pictures; it's just not in the culture. When we talk about seeing someone later, we tend to mean something more personal than a pixelated smudge the size of a postage stamp moving at 1 frame/sec. That is why I say mobile imaging doesn't have a future in the States.

Re:Text messages. (2)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 11 years ago | (#4383318)

"Duck, this is Doc. Sushi's moved back to 9. See you then." (10 seconds, tops)
vs.
"Sushi at 9"

You can't really tout losing all context as being an advantage. If we were supposed to eat at 8, my message is clear while your message leaves my friend wondering if I mistyped or if they're going to be waiting for an hour.


So change it to "Sushi now 9", and you have all of the original context (the fact that you will see him then is obvious, and sender is indicated by the message header).

My point is that the amount of information being conveyed by the original statement is very low, and so doesn't *need* a very long typed message.

Checking/leaving voicemail is not a busy wait; I can be walking down the street and do it.

In my own daily routine, checking/leaving voicemail _is_ usually a busywait, for a number of schedule and circumstance-related reasons. If you have enough walking time or what-have-you for it yourself, more power to you. However, I doubt I'm unique.

Re. driving, I do not consider text messaging or voice mailing while driving a good idea.

Now if everyone was taking mass transit, yes pervasive SMS would beat trying to talk over other people on an already noisy bus/train.

Last time I checked, there are plenty of mass-transit commuters on this side of the ocean, too.

I'm not arguing that _everyone_ should use SMS over voice mail. Just that for a large fraction of the population it seems to make sense, so I'm puzzled by statements alleging the opposite.

Same thing goes with pictures; it's just not in the culture.

At no point did my argument touch pictures; they're a non-issue for this discussion (I agree that they're useless for most purposes).

Re:Mobile camming (2)

TheSync (5291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4375284)

I think Bluetooth connections between phones and peripherals would be cool. I wonder, though, about the power drain from Bluetooth would affect battery life.

Re:Mobile camming (1)

arasinen (22038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4375320)

But it makes me sick to think where cell phones could be if only they'd focus on the phone instead of trying to make it a GameBoy, too.

How much evolution has there been in ordinary phones since Bell? Not that much.
There just is not much room for improving a device designed just to transfer sound. I think the phone-aspect of a mobile phone has been pretty stable for ten years now.

Only Sony gets it (2, Insightful)

rtstyk (545241) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373667)

Out of the Palm based PDAs Sony has the best screen. Someone said here that geeks don't care about what it looks like as long as it can do it. Well I'm not buying this. What it looks like is VERY important. I wanted to by a new PDA but they still insist on 160x160 resolution with sucky colors. Why should I switch from my 2 year old handspring? More effort should be put into the displays everywhere. And not only what they look like but also how they perform battery-wise.

Re:Only Sony gets it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4375117)

Actually the Sharp Zaurus (not featured in the test) has a better screen than the whole lot of them. Also, best buy just dropped the price to about 300.

It takes too much work from users (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4373894)

Color mangement on PDA should be fundamentally very little different from color management on the desktop. There's should be very little new that Kodak or anyone else has to invent -- except for demand, and a sensible, standard way for device mfgs. and software vendors to solve the problem.

Color management on the desktop has already been solved, however it takes active intervention form the user to work and can be very confusing to acutally use. Apple does the best job with ColorSync, and MS is trying to catch up with ICM. Linux is a color management desert (far as I can tell).

If you use Photoshop on a Mac you can achieve a very successful color-managed workflow with very little work. It seems that the only geeks that care about color are prepress geeks. Nobody else seems to have a clue, so I'm glad Kodak is trying to prick up eveyone's ears.

In principal, the solution is simple. Use color profiles (ICC color profiles). Profiles describe how a device's colors (rgb 255,0,0) for example, map to a "real" color defintion--defined using a device-independent color space.

You need:
1. A profile for the display device.
2. An image file with an attached profile -- often called a "source profile".
3. A "color management engine" that creates the best approximation in the display devices color model of the image based on a "rendering intent" -- usually "perceptual", "relative colormetric", "absolute colormetric", etc.

The problem is that the only way to get truly relaiable profile for a display device is to put an instrument with a suction cup on your monitor and measure the monitor's actual performance. Or, for a printer, scan a print of an IT-8 test pattern into color profile building software. While Windows and Mac OS (9 and X) have buit in support for most of the color workflow, the colorimiters and profile-building software are expensive.

Unless PDA's start coming with mini suction-cupped colorimiters, then the best anyone can do is guess. Just like the sRGB profile which assumes that everyone has an old crappy monitor. That or someone will invent a way to manufacture LCD displays so that every display has exactly (in terms of statistical signifigance) the same color rendering performance, degrading predictably over time.

Re:It takes too much work from users (1)

A-Tech (606699) | more than 11 years ago | (#4375480)

Linux is a color management desert (far as I can tell).

GPL Color Management for Linux/BSD: Littlecms for Linux/BSD/Windows [littlecms.com]


GPL Desktop Publishing which is uses lttlecms: http://web2.altmuehlnet.de/fschmid [altmuehlnet.de]

Re:It takes too much work from users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4375826)

Cool. I admit it's been a few years since the last time I looked for ICC based color management for Linux.

wow (1)

hfastedge (542013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4373980)

most of you, including kodak, are not giving any recognition to a country thats been offering video over the air to personal devices for years now: korea.

True Color in Real Time (1)

tom.allender (217176) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374067)

"The answer's not in the box - it's in the band" - Antitrust

i'll tell you why... (2)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 11 years ago | (#4374395)

Kodak explains why photo and color science are as important as clock speeds and data rates in this expanding market.

I'll tell you why they'd say that right now -- because that's what their company does. They make money selling imaging devices and technology. Obviously they need to look out for and push the market for what their company sells.

I'm sure the RIAA could tell us why Digital Right Management is more important than clockspeeds and data rates -- it doesn't mean it's true :P

Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4376562)

"You mean I can take pictures of my arse and send them to my mates? That's totally worth paying for. How much?"

Cellphone owner Craig on the possibilities of photo messaging.

(The Observer, London, 22 September)

big deal (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4376987)

Dithering, color quantization, and palette choice have been known and in use for decades, and back then, desktop computers were less powerful than phones are today. Kodak is a late-comer to the area. I don't see anything particularly new or "enabling" in what the Kodak folks are writing about.

Can someone explain this to me a little more? (1)

charlieCoolly (613360) | more than 11 years ago | (#4378197)

I understand everything in this article up to the point where they start to talk about Kodak's new compression. Do they somehow sneak info in through the 8 bits used for each pixel that allows them to use more than 256 colors? Cause if thats not it, the new Kokak compression seems to use just pre-determined pallete colors that are biased towards better skin rendition for images. And if that's it, then it seems kinda bleh, nothing revolutionary that I though it was. Maybe I'm just missing the key point...so...anyone care to elaborate for me?

Last Post! (1)

alpg (613466) | more than 11 years ago | (#4462710)

Rule #7: Silence is not acquiescence.
Contrary to what you may have heard, silence of those present is
not necessarily consent, even the reluctant variety. They simply may
sit in stunned silence and figure ways of sabotaging the plan after
they regain their composure.

- this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...
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