Conditional Diffusion Process for Inverse HalftoningDownload PDF

Published: 31 Oct 2022, Last Modified: 18 Dec 2022NeurIPS 2022 AcceptReaders: Everyone
Abstract: Inverse halftoning is a technique used to recover realistic images from ancient prints (\textit{e.g.}, photographs, newspapers, books). The rise of deep learning has led to the gradual incorporation of neural network designs into inverse halftoning methods. Most of existing inverse halftoning approaches adopt the U-net architecture, which uses an encoder to encode halftone prints, followed by a decoder for image reconstruction. However, the mainstream supervised learning paradigm with element-wise regression commonly adopted in U-net based methods has poor generalization ability in practical applications. Specifically, when there is a large gap between the dithering patterns of the training and test halftones, the reconstructed continuous-tone images have obvious artifacts. This is an important issue in practical applications, since the algorithms for generating halftones are ever-evolving. Even for the same algorithm, different parameter choices will result in different halftone dithering patterns. In this paper, we propose the first generative halftoning method in the literature, which regards the black pixels in halftones as physically moving particles, and makes the randomly distributed particles move under some certain guidance through reverse diffusion process, so as to obtain desired halftone patterns. In particular, we propose a Conditional Diffusion model for image Halftoning (CDH), which consists of a halftone dithering process and an inverse halftoning process. By changing the initial state of the diffusion model, our method can generate visually plausible halftones with different dithering patterns under the condition of image gray level and Laplacian prior. To avoid introducing redundant patterns and undesired artifacts, we propose a meta-halftone guided network to incorporate blue noise guidance in the diffusion process. In this way, halftone images subject to more diverse distributions are fed into the inverse halftoning model, which helps the model to learn a more robust mapping from halftone distributions to continuous-tone distributions, thereby improving the generalization ability to unseen samples. Quantitative and qualitative experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method achieves state-of-the-art results.
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