Electronic Imaging 2018

We are pleased to announce that we will return to the Bay Bridge, San Francisco at dusk. Shot from Yerba Buena Island.IS&T Electronic Imaging conference in 2018, to take place from January 28 – February 1 in Burlingame, CA. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport and will feature 20 technical conferences covering a variety of electronic imaging topics, ranging “from image sensing to display and hardcopy to machine vision in use in transportation systems” (Electronic Imaging).

We will have a booth in the exhibition hall and will be demonstrating our software and test charts. Please contact us to meet with our image quality experts. 

Additionally, Norman Koren will be presenting his paper, “Measuring the impact of flare lighting on dynamic range” on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 3:30 pm. 

The dynamic range of recent HDR image sensors, defined as the range of exposure between saturation and 0 dB SNR, can be extremely high: 120 dB or more. But the dynamic range of real imaging systems is limited by veiling glare (flare light), arising from reflections inside the lens, and hence rarely approaches this level. Veiling glare measurements, such as ISO 18844, made with black cavities on white fields, result in large numbers that are difficult to relate to dynamic range. Camera dynamic range is typically measured from grayscale charts, where veiling glare depends on the design and layout of the chart, leading to inconsistent results. We discuss the interaction between veiling glare and dynamic range measurements and the need for standardization of test conditions. We also propose a new dynamic range definition and a new test chart design for directly measuring the visibility of low contrast features over a wide range of scene brightness, which is important for real-world applications, especially in the automotive and security industries where the visibility of people and obstacles in shadow regions is critical. Unlike standard grayscale charts, the new test chart provides meaningful results when tone mapping is applied.

 

 

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Cologne, Germany Training Course and Information Seminar

Imatest in Cologne, Germany

Imatest representatives will visit Detroit, Michigan area September 23-25, 2018 to offer a free Information Seminar and paid 2-day Training Course to professionals using or considering Imatest software to improve their image quality testing processes.

 

2-day Training Course

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The training course on September 24 & 25 offers attendees insight on the full capabilities of Imatest software in both research development and manufacturing environments. Training starts at 9:00 and will end at 17:00 – 18:00, depending on questions. Location TBA. 

View the detailed Training schedule.

Sign up online or contact a reseller in your area.

Free Information Seminar

If you are interested in finding out more about how Imatest software can improve your image quality testing, we encourage you to come to our free Information Seminar on September 23. 

Please register if you are interested in attending.

We look forward to meeting you in person.

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Using Arbitrary Charts for Development of the P1858 Variation Combo Chart

The release of Imatest 5.0 introduced a number of powerful new features, including the Arbitrary Charts module which enables Imatest analysis of test chart designs which would be otherwise unsupported by the software. This new module allows user-defined chart layouts for any situation which requires one.

The primary concept of Arbitrary Charts is that the user supplies a chart-definition text file which declares the location and properties of features on a test chart. The features can be placed in essentially any configuration and Imatest will still be able to automatically analyze the chart.

Here at Imatest, we believe we’ve designed some very comprehensive test charts, such as our flagship SFRplus and eSFR-ISO charts. These charts are designed to provide a number of image quality factor measurements, work with an extremely wide range of cameras, are available in pre-distorted versions for wide-angle lenses, and more. They each have their own dedicated modules in Imatest which recognize these chart designs.

While we highly recommend the use of these and our other standard charts, we also recognize that there are situations which may require a more custom target. For example:

  • Working with a legacy database of test images of an older chart

  • Meeting a test spec which requires specific, non-standard targets

  • custom reticles for collimator systems

  • Special combination charts for accelerated testing

 

P1858 Combination Chart Conception

As mentioned above, some situations require a custom target, including the need to combine charts for accelerated testing. Early in 2017, a customer and frequent collaborator approached us about adding support for a new chart. The IEEE p1858-2016 Cell Phone Image Quality standard requires images of at least five different standard test charts for the complete set of seven metrics. The customer wanted to significantly reduce the need for several charts by developing a test chart that provides a “good enough” measurement of all of the metrics from a single image. We worked together with them, jointly developing what would become the P1858 Variation Combo Chart and the Arbitrary Charts Module. 

The immediate goal in this case was to reduce testing time of a device by at least a factor of five. (This is likely a low bound on the time savings, as switching between test targets is typically the most time-intensive part of a well-tuned automatic test bench.) The customer wanted results that, even if they weren’t technically in spec, would provide an indication of how a test device would score on a full-fledged CPIQ test, and wanted them to be produced quickly.

This would, of course, require a set of compromises on the CPIQ metrics:

  • SFR measurements from just outside of the center of field, instead of dead center

  • 24 color patches based on the X-Rite ColorChecker instead of the 140 of the ColorChecker SG

  • Color Uniformity results measured from the chart background areas between the other features, rather than an entire flat-field image

  • Chromatic Aberration and Geometric Distortion measurements from slanted edges around the field, instead of the dot pattern

These changes from the CPIQ spec were deemed acceptable for this purpose, and the P1858 Combination Chart was born. This design is now publically available, with the approval of the original customer.

 

Using the Arbitrary Charts Module

We have been very happy to collaborate with Imatest on their new 5.0 release to allow us to design a combination chart that reduces our objective metric capture needs, improving our productivity and eliminating the challenge of correlating data from multiple capture conditions.

– Lead Imaging Scientist, Imatest Customer

At first glance, the P1858 Combination Chart looks very similar to Imatest’s standard eSFR-ISO chart.

Imatest eSFR-ISO Chart

P1858 Variant Combination Chart

The most obvious difference here is that there is the dead leaves texture pattern in the center of the chart instead of a slanted square. However, there are many other subtle differences which would make this completely unusable by our standard eSFR-ISO module:

  • The grayscale OECF patches have been enlarged and moved outward

  • Extra color patches have been added to approximate all of the patches on the X-Rite ColorChecker

  • Four individual slanted edges have been added on the inside of the OECF patches, so SFR measurements are still possible near center of field

  • In general, the positioning of wedges and slanted squares is different

These differences preclude any standard module in Imatest from performing an automatic analysis of the chart (though selections of slanted edges and wedges could be made manually in individual images using the SFR and Wedge modules, respectively – not a great solution).

Fortunately, this chart was designed in concert with the development of the Arbitrary Charts module, with the express purpose of making analysis of this sort of chart automatic and systematic. Moreover, not only can the combined results be produced from a single image but they are produced from a single module run in Imatest. Instead of running a module to analyze the color, a module for sharpness, a module for uniformity, etc., the Arbitrary Charts module simplifies the testing procedure and output parsing.

The ability to configure our own charts is revolutionizing our approach to quantitative image quality testing and test development.

-Lead Imaging Scientist, Imatest Customer

As an added bonus, the customer is able to make slight changes to this design at will and simply update the chart definition file supplied to the module, without having to wait for new builds of Imatest to catch up.

 

Learning to Use Arbitrary Charts

The capability to analyze user-defined charts is new in Imatest 5.0, and is under continual development. New capabilities are being added to the Arbitrary Charts module with each release.

Further information about the Arbitrary Charts module and its current capabilities can be found on its documentation page.

The most important novel aspect of working with this module is the introduction of the chart definition file which enables the software to understand images of the test chart. To help communicate the role and construction of this file, we are producing a series of short videos that describes the process.

 

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Detroit, Michigan Training Course and Seminar

 

Imatest in Detroit, Michigan

Imatest representatives will visit Detroit, Michigan area June 5-7, 2018 to offer a free Information Seminar and paid 2-day Training Course to professionals using or considering Imatest software to improve their image quality testing processes.

 

2-day Training Course

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The training course on June 6 & 7 offers attendees insight on the full capabilities of Imatest software in both research development and manufacturing environments. Training starts at 9:00 and will end at 17:00 – 18:00, depending on questions. Location TBA. 

View the detailed Training schedule.

Sign up online or contact a reseller in your area.

Free Information Seminar

If you are interested in finding out more about how Imatest software can improve your image quality testing, we encourage you to come to our free Information Seminar on June 5. 

Please register if you are interested in attending.

We look forward to meeting you in person.

 

 

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Using Arbitrary Charts Video Series

This series of short videos provides an introduction to the Arbitrary Charts module. Learn how to develop Chart Definition Files

Oct. 25, 2017
Watch on YouTube or download
 

Arbitrary Chart Definition Part 1: In this video, we introduce chart definition JSON files, their structure, and purpose in the Arbitrary Charts module.

 
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Five reasons to use Imatest 5.0

This week, we launched Imatest 5.0. We built Imatest 5.0 to provide users with a streamlined workflow for more efficient image quality analysis. Here are five reasons to start using Imatest 5.0 today.

Refined User Experience

Imatest 5.0 features several new tools and enhancements across our products to help you improve your workflow. Whether you want to reduce the number of images needed for complete system qualification with Arbitrary Charts; process a collection of images with automated analysis routines within the brand new Test Manager, or process batches of images with our enhanced image processing module, Imatest 5.0 is an improved experience for users needing an expedited testing process.

Innovative Image Quality Measurements

The newest release provides several new and enhanced measurements to help your focus on the image quality factors that matter to your business’ camera system.

  • Contrast Resolution was designed for the visualization and measurement of contrast separation. This is particularly important for the automotive industry where camera systems need to distinguish between low contrast objects in a larger field with varying ranges of brightness.
  • The ISO 18844 flare measurement added to the Uniformity module was created to address the need to accurately measure veiling glare.
  • The enhancements to the SFRreg Center Chart provides geometric utilities for measuring tilt and rotational measurements, an especially important factor for users needing to test wide-angled measurements.

Measuring Contrast Resolution using Multicharts.

Focus on the image quality factors that matter most

Imatest tools serve many industries with widely varying requirements, for example testing an automotive camera system is different from testing a consumer device. Even within one industry, companies need to test several image quality factors on several test charts, complicating the capture analysis workflow. Imatest 5.0 lets you zero in on the image quality factors and results that matter most to your business.

  • Customizable reports allows users to more efficiently filter and present select image quality data from a variety of image quality factors.
  • The new arbitrary charts functionality serves a similar purpose by letting users define efficient layouts of analysis features within one chart.

Enhanced support for industry standards

Industry standards provide a foundation for the testing and analysis of imaging systems and clearly define testing methods for reliable measurements of system performance. Imatest 5.0 goes along way to support and supplement industry testing standards.

Run predefined test plans for standard testing procedures such as CPIQ within the new Test Manager.

The new P1858 Variant Combo chart, supported by Arbitrary Charts, combines several analysis features  required by the standard into one chart. This enables users to minimize the number of images needed in the testing process and increases testing efficiency and accuracy.

Imatest 5.0 also features an enhanced Uniformity module to support the ISO 18844 standard for image flare measurements on digital cameras. The standard was created to address some of the difficulties of making ISO 9358 measurements with cameras.

P1858 Variant Combo chart

Streamlined Product Line

The Imatest 5.0 release includes the streamlining of the Imatest product line. As of Imatest 5.0, Imatest Master will now includes image acquisition capabilities that were previously available in Imatest IS, which is now discontinued. Imatest users will now have access to the acquisition library. The library supports direct acquisition from a wide range of frame grabbers and cameras, as well as industry standard interfaces like CameraLink, GigE Vision, and USB through DirectShow (Windows) or QuickTime (OS X). Direct image acquisition cuts out several steps in the image quality testing process and allows for in-the-loop testing with Imatest.

In order to maximize performance in the new Test Manager, we utilized parallel processing. Previously, parallel processing was only available in Imatest IT-P. With the release of Imatest 5.0, Imatest IT-P functionality is now included in Imatest IT . This enables all Imatest users to rapidly process large volumes of images. By utilizing high-performance processors with 6+ cores, parallel processing can improve throughput by over 2.5x.

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Imatest IS Discontinued with Image Acquisition now Available in Imatest Master

As of Imatest 5.0, Imatest Master now features image acquisition capabilities. Previously, image acquisition capabilities were supported by Imatest IS, which has been discontinued as a separate product. This provides all of our customers with access to the acquisition library. The library supports direct acquisition from a wide range of frame grabbers and cameras, as well as industry standard interfaces. Direct image acquisition cuts out several steps in the image quality testing process and allows for in-the-loop testing with Imatest.

Learn more about Imatest’s image acquisition capabilities. 

Sensor Evaluation Boards

  • OnSemi
  • Omnivision
  • Toshiba
  • STMicroelectronics
  • Graphin EasyLab

Capture Interfaces

  • Android
  • DirectShow
  • QuickTime
  • Analog
  • Camera Link
  • GigE Vision
  • DCAM IEEE 1394b
  • Blackmagic Design

 

Camera Vendors

  • Adimec
  • Allied Vision Tec
  • FLIR
  • Hamamatsu
  • Hitachi
  • Matrox Imaging
  • Microsoft Kinect
  • National Instruments
  • Sony
  • Toshiba Teli
  • GEViCAM
  • Imperx
  • Lumenera
  • Matrix Vision
  • Teledyne DALSA
  • QImaging
  • VRmagic
  • XIMEA

 

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Boulder, Colorado Training Course

Imatest Training Course in Boulder, Colorado

Imatest representatives will host a paid 2-day Training Course at our headquarters in Boulder, Colorado November 8 & 9, 2017 for professionals using or considering Imatest software to improve their image quality testing processes.

 Flatirons_in_the_Fall

2-day Training Course

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The training course on November 8 & 9 offers attendees insight on the full capabilities of Imatest software in both research development and manufacturing environments. Training starts at 9 am and will end at 5:30 pm, depending on questions. Please contact us for nearby lodging suggestions.

Where: Imatest Headquarters

4775 Walnut Street Suite 200 Boulder, CO 80301

View the detailed Training schedule.

Sign up online to reserve your seat.

We look forward to meeting you in person.

 

 

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Imatest featured as one of three companies changing the autonomous driving landscape

Imatest was recently featured in Automoblog.net’s article, Three Companies Changing the Autonomous Driving Landscape. Carl Anthony writes:

“With driverless cars, the implication is huge because cameras will play a vital role in the forthcoming autonomous world. In order for autonomy to deliver on its promises of reducing collisions and traffic fatalities, image quality is essential. Imatest takes this into consideration as today’s automotive trends usher us further into autonomy.”

Read the full article at www.automoblog.net/2017/06/30/three-companies-changing-the-autonomous-driving-landscape/. 

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New Documentation Available for Imatest IT

Imatest is pleased to unveil updated documentation for Imatest IT. The documentation has been updated to include the latest software release (Imatest 4.5), including details for new features, filtering options for preferred languages, and several new Troubleshooting articles.

Users can now filter Imatest IT instructions for their preferred languages and interfaces including C, C++, Python, .NET (C# and Visual Basic), and EXE. In addition, there are now more detailed installation and setup instructions for both Windows and Linux versions.

Imatest IT ships with several example projects in C++, Python, C#, and Visual Basic. You can find them in the samples folder of your IT installation, along with example images of Imatest test charts that can be used for each of IT’s analysis modules.

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