Underwater image enhancement via extended multi-scale Retinex

Shu Zhang, Ting Wang, Junyu Dong, Hui Yu

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Underwater exploration has become an active research area over the past few decades. The image enhancement is one of the challenges for those computer vision based underwater researches because of the degradation of the images in the underwater environment. The scattering and absorption are the main causes in the underwater environment to make the images decrease their visibility, for example, blurry, low contrast, and reducing visual ranges. To tackle aforementioned problems, this paper presents a novel method for underwater image enhancement inspired by the Retinex framework, which simulates the human visual system. The term Retinex is created by the combinations of “Retina” and “Cortex”. The proposed method, namely LAB-MSR, is achieved by modifying the original Retinex algorithm. It utilizes the combination of the Bilateral Filter and Trilateral Filter on the three channels of the image in CIELAB color space according to the characteristics of each channel. With real world data, experiments are carried out to demonstrate both the degradation characteristics of the underwater images in different turbidities, and the competitive performance of the proposed method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Early online date16 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017


  • RCUK
  • EP/N025849/1
  • underwater image
  • degradation
  • enhancement
  • color constancy
  • multi-scale retinex
  • hybrid filter


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