Image Enhancement by Unsharp Masking the Depth Buffer

Thomas Luft


Carsten Colditz


Oliver Deussen

University of Konstanz

Drawings by S. Dali, P. Picasso, G. Seurat, and H. Matisse. The artists separate objects of different depth by locally altering the contrast in order to enhance their depth perception. In our work we mimic such an effect for computer generated images and photographs that contain depth information.


We present a simple and efficient method to enhance the perceptual quality of images that contain depth information. Similar to an unsharp mask, the difference between the original depth buffer content and a low-pass filtered copy is utilized to determine information about spatially important areas in a scene. Based on this information we locally enhance the contrast, color, and other parameters of the image. Our technique aims at improving the perception of complex scenes by introducing additional depth cues. The idea is motivated by artwork and findings in the field of neurology, and can be applied to images of any kind, ranging from complex landscape data and technical artifacts, to volume rendering, photograph, and video with depth information.
	author		= {Thomas Luft and Carsten Colditz and Oliver Deussen},
	title		= {Image Enhancement By Unsharp Masking The Depth Buffer},
	journal		= {ACM Transactions on Graphics},
	volume		= {25},
	number		= {3},
	year		= {2006},
	month		= {jul},
	pages		= {1206--1213},
	publisher	= {ACM Press},
	address		= {New York, NY, USA}
Matt Ebb implemented a version of this technique as plug-in for Blender. Thank you!

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