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Concept# Pyramid (image processing)

Summary

Pyramid, or pyramid representation, is a type of multi-scale signal representation developed by the computer vision, and signal processing communities, in which a signal or an image is subject to repeated smoothing and subsampling. Pyramid representation is a predecessor to scale-space representation and multiresolution analysis.
There are two main types of pyramids: lowpass and bandpass.
A lowpass pyramid is made by smoothing the image with an appropriate smoothing filter and then subsampling the smoothed image, usually by a factor of 2 along each coordinate direction. The resulting image is then subjected to the same procedure, and the cycle is repeated multiple times. Each cycle of this process results in a smaller image with increased smoothing, but with decreased spatial sampling density (that is, decreased image resolution). If illustrated graphically, the entire multi-scale representation will look like a pyramid, with the original image on the bottom and each cycle's resulting smaller image stacked one atop the other.
A bandpass pyramid is made by forming the difference between images at adjacent levels in the pyramid and performing image interpolation between adjacent levels of resolution, to enable computation of pixelwise differences.
A variety of different smoothing have been proposed for generating pyramids. Among the suggestions that have been given, the binomial kernels arising from the binomial coefficients stand out as a particularly useful and theoretically well-founded class. Thus, given a two-dimensional image, we may apply the (normalized) binomial filter (1/4, 1/2, 1/4) typically twice or more along each spatial dimension and then subsample the image by a factor of two. This operation may then proceed as many times as desired, leading to a compact and efficient multi-scale representation. If motivated by specific requirements, intermediate scale levels may also be generated where the subsampling stage is sometimes left out, leading to an oversampled or hybrid pyramid.

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