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Photo of Michael Elad
Stochastic Image Denoising by Sampling from the Posterior Distribution

Image denoising is a well-known and well studied problem, commonly targeting a minimization of the mean squared error (MSE) between the outcome and the original image. Unfortunately, especially for severe noise levels, such Minimum MSE (MMSE) solutions may lead to blurry output images. In this work we propose a novel stochastic denoising approach that produces viable and high perceptual quality results, while maintaining a small MSE. Our method employs Langevin dynamics that relies on a repeated application of any given MMSE denoiser, obtaining the reconstructed image by effectively sampling from the posterior distribution. Due to its stochasticity, the proposed algorithm can produce a variety of high-quality outputs for a given noisy input, all shown to be legitimate denoising results. In addition, we present an extension of our algorithm for handling the inpainting problem, recovering missing pixels while removing noise from partially given data.

High Perceptual Quality Image Denoising with a Posterior Sampling CGAN

The vast work in Deep Learning (DL) has led to a leap in image denoising research. Most DL solutions for this task have chosen to put their efforts on the denoiser’s architecture while maximizing distortion performance. However, distortion driven solutions lead to blurry results with sub-optimal perceptual quality, especially in immoderate noise levels. In this paper we propose a different perspective, aiming to produce sharp and visually pleasing denoised images that are still faithful to their clean sources. Formally, our goal is to achieve high perceptual quality with acceptable distortion. This is attained by a stochastic denoiser that samples from the posterior distribution, trained as a generator in the framework of conditional generative adversarial networks (CGAN). Contrary to distortion-based regularization terms that conflict with perceptual quality, we introduce to the CGAN objective a theoretically founded penalty term that does not force a distortion requirement on individual samples, but rather on their mean. We showcase our proposed method with a novel denoiser architecture that achieves the reformed denoising goal and produces vivid and diverse outcomes in immoderate noise levels.

Patch Craft: Video Denoising by Deep Modeling and Patch Matching

The non-local self-similarity property of natural images has been exploited extensively for solving various image processing problems. When it comes to video sequences, harnessing this force is even more beneficial due to the temporal redundancy. In the context of image and video denoising, many classically-oriented algorithms employ self-similarity, splitting the data into overlapping patches, gathering groups of similar ones and processing these together somehow. With the emergence of convolutional neural networks (CNN), the patch-based framework has been abandoned. Most CNN denoisers operate on the whole image, leveraging non-local relations only implicitly by using a large receptive field. This work proposes a novel approach for leveraging self-similarity in the context of video denoising, while still relying on a regular convolutional architecture. We introduce a concept of patch-craft frames – artificial frames that are similar to the real ones, built by tiling matched patches. Our algorithm augments video sequences with patch-craft frames and feeds them to a CNN. We demonstrate the substantial boost in denoising performance obtained with the proposed approach.