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Wavelet Based Image Compression

Sub band Threshold

Wavelet based image valued data in it. Zerotree coding

compression has been a focus of is done next on the resultant output
research in recent days. In this for compression. Different values
paper, we propose a compression of threshold were applied during
technique based on modification of experiment to see the effect on
original EZW coding. In this lossy compression ratio and
technique, we try to discard less reconstructed image quality. The
significant information in the proposed method results in further
image data in order to achieve increase in compression ratio with
further compression with minimal negligible loss in image quality.
effect on output image quality. The
algorithm calculates weight of
each subband and finds the
subband with minimum weight in
every level. This minimum weight
subband in each level, that
contributes least effect during
image reconstruction, undergoes a
threshold process to eliminate low-

Image compression is a technique accomplished in three stages: 1)

of encoding an image to store it or wavelet transform, 2) zerotree
send it using as fewer bits as coding and 3) entropy based
possible. Presently the most coding. Wavelet transform
common compression methods for decomposes the image into several
still images fall into two multi-resolution subbands in an
categories: Discrete Cosine octave manner, and perfectly
Transform (DCT)based techniques reconstructs the original image
and methods based on wavelet from them. This multi-level
transform. Widely used image decomposition is done using two
compression technique JPEG dimensional wavelet filters (basis
achieves compression by applying function), among which Haar and
DCT to the image, whereas Daubechies filters are very
wavelet transform methods popular. The appropriate choice of
generally use discrete wavelet filters for the transform is very
transform (DWT) for this purpose. important in compression schemes
With the recent developments to achieve high coding efficiency.
in wavelet compression, this Splitting of subband into next
method has arisen to be an higher level four subbands using
efficient coding method for still wavelet transform is shown in
image compression, outperforming Figure 1.
today’s DCT based JPEG Among the wavelet coding
standards. This state of the art schemes, Shapiro was the first to
compression technique is develop Embedded Zerotree
Wavelet (EZW) coding scheme in octavely decreasing threshold.
1993. It utilizes dependencies Higher compression ratio is
among subbands decomposed by achieved using variable length
wavelets, and uses zerotree to coding method that depends on
achieve high compression. For this previously coded EZW data.
successive approximation Sometimes adaptive arithmetic
quantization, the coefficients in coding is used for further
subbands are scanned in a pre- compression with a cost of
determined fashion and their complexity and computation time.
values are compared with an

Figure 1. Splitting of subband into next higher level four subbands

they are embedded in nature and
Since the publication of EZW
can be stopped at any time
coder, there have been many
whenever the desired results are
developments in this field. SPIHT
achieved e.g, when the required
was the next to develop a better
compression ratio is achieved or
wavelet coder with improved
desired reconstructed picture
performance. One of the
quality (PSNR) is obtained.
advantages of these algorithms is a
Recently developed coders offer
further improvements by applications. For this purpose,
modification of EZW with the cost basic EZW coder was chosen for
of complexity and increased modifications that is a simple and
processing time, the factors most widely used wavelet image
making them difficult to coder.
implement for common


compression with high coding
Image compression can be
efficiency. Recently a new wavelet
implemented using a variety of
based image compression scheme
algorithms; such as transform
JPEG-2000 has been standardized,
based schemes, vector quantization
indicating the wavelet compression
and subband coding. The selection
as the promising compression
of an image compression
scheme of the future. This section
algorithm depends mostly on
presents an overview of wavelet
criteria of achievable compression
image compression and later
ratio and the quality of
describes in detail a typical
reconstructed images. Wavelet
wavelet transform algorithm with
transform based coding is an
Embedded Zerotree wavelet
emerging field for image
coding scheme.

1. Wavelet Transform:

inherits an excellent energy

Wavelet Transform provides compaction property suitable to
a compact multi-resolution exploit redundancy in an image to
representation of the image. It achieve compression. Discrete
Wavelet Transform (DWT) can be Most of the energy is concentrated
implemented using two-channel in low frequency subband LL and
wavelet filter bank in a recursive represents a down sampled low
fashion. For an image, 2D-DWT is resolution version of the original
generally calculated using a image, whereas higher frequency
separable approach. Input image is subbands contain detail
first scanned in a horizontal information of the image in
direction and passed through horizontal, vertical and diagonal
lowpass and highpass directions respectively. After one
decomposition filters. The level of transformation, the image
decomposed data is then sub- can be further decomposed by
sampled vertically to produce low again applying 2-D DWT to the
frequency as well as high existing LL subband in the similar
frequency data in horizontal manner. This iterative process
direction. This filtered output data results in multiple levels of
is then scanned in a vertical transformation with energy further
direction and again these filters are compacted into few low frequency
applied separately to generate coefficients. An example of
different frequency subbands. threelevel decomposition of image
After sub-sampling of the resultant into subbands using wavelet
data in horizontal direction, the transform is illustrated in figure
transform generates subbands LL, 2(a), whereas Figure 2(b) shows
LH, HL and HH each with one parent/children relationship among
forth the size of the original image. levels.
Figure 2. (a) 3 level wavelet decomposition, (b) Relationship between
higher and lower level coefficients (parents/children)

2. Embedded Zerotree Coding:

Subordinate pass. In the dominant

After performing wavelet pass, magnitudes of wavelet
transform on the input image, coefficients are compared with a
EZW encoder progressively set threshold value T to determine
quantizes the coefficients using a significant data – coefficients with
form of bit plane coding to create absolute value greater than
an embedded representation of the threshold. As the scanning
image. EZW coder uses the progresses from low to high spatial
relationship between higher and frequencies, a two bit symbol is
lower level coefficients (parents used to encode the sign and
and children) of the same position of all significant
orientation in the wavelet block to coefficients. The positive
gain its coding efficiency. This significant (POS) and negative
coding technique is performed in significant (NEG) coefficients are
two passes in a recursive manner: above a set threshold value that
(1) Dominant pass and (2) starts at the highest power of two
below the peak wavelet coefficient significant bit to each of the
value. If the wavelet coefficient is significant coefficients by
insignificant and has its encoding the next lower bit using
descendent that is significant, it is either a zero or a one. Once all the
indicated as an isolated zero (IZ) coefficients are coded for a certain
and must be coded separately. threshold value T, the process is
Otherwise the coefficient is repeated for leftover insignificant
classified as a zerotree root (ZTR), coefficients with the threshold
which itself and all its descendents value lowered by a power of two.
are insignificant and can be Overall, the result is an embedded
classified with just one symbol. bitstream transmitted by the
The inclusion of the ZTR symbol encoder that has a specific order of
greatly increases the coding importance based on threshold
efficiency as it allows the encoder magnitude with these four
to exploit inter scale correlation in symbols, indicating types of
an image. The subordinate pass significance as well as resolution
follows next, in which all the bits for all significant coefficients
detected significant coefficients at each level. EZW technique can
are refined using the Successive be enhanced using entropy coding
Approximation Quantization before transmission, to achieve
(SAQ) approach. It adds a further compression
Figure 3. Block diagram of a wavelet based image coding algorithm


then preprocessed before

The development of undergoing zerotree compression.
EZW (Embedded Zerotree Block diagram of wavelet based
Wavelet) image coding has image coding algorithm is shown
attracted great attention among in figure 3.
researchers. It is the most popular The main objective of this
wavelet based compression new algorithm is to enhance
algorithm and is widely used in a compression ratio of an image with
number of applications. This paper minimal loss during
concentrates on EZW algorithm reconstruction. This algorithm
and proposes an algorithm that is concentrates on the pre-processing
basically an extension of it. The stage of compression and removes
image is first decomposed into some of the unwanted data present
subbands using wavelet transform. in transformed image that
Recursive transformation method contribute less in image
is used for multi-level reconstruction, but require more
decomposition. The output data is bits during compression.
Exploiting the tradeoff between these subbands are mostly zero (or
compression ratio and close to zero) with only a few large
reconstructed image quality, it values that correspond to edges
eliminates some least important and textures information in the
image data to achieve further image. We propose an algorithm to
compression with slight reduction reduce the least important data in
in image quality. order to attain further compression.
Retaining the high value
The algorithm is based on the
coefficients, the lower values of
fact that the subband with low
minimum valued subband are
values has little effect on output, as
compared to subbands with higher
For this purpose,
values. The higher the values, the
we first find the minimum valued
higher the dependency on that
subbands, and then apply a
subband with sharp edges in that
threshold value to eliminate low
direction, whereas the lower the
valued data from it that contributes
values, the little (or no)
egligibly in image reconstruction.
dependency on the respective
The algorithm uses weight
subband in that direction. In
calculation method to obtain one
wavelet-transformed image,
minimum valued subband for each
coefficients in the LL subband
level. Weight of each subband is
represent low-resolution image
calculated by adding absolute
whereas high frequency subbands
value of all the coefficients present
contain detail subbands in each
in the subband. Out of three detail
direction respectively. These three
subbands ( LHi, HLi and HHi) the
subbands contribute less in image
one with minimum weight at every
reconstruction since coefficients of
level is marked as minimum
weight subband. i.e, one minimum weight subband for each level is

After finding the picture quality. In our experiments,

required subbands in each level, we used different threshold values
the algorithm reduces the data to show the effect of compressed
present in these subbands, output and reconstructed image.
depending on its importance for
Zerotree coding is
reconstruction. Since most of the
done next on the thresholded data
values are close to zero,
for compression. The reduction of
Coefficients in minimum detail
low valued significant coefficients
subband undergo a threshold
in minimum weight subbands,
process to eliminate low-valued
result in higher compression ratio
data in that subband in the
with slight loss in decoded PSNR.
transformed domain. The
Results show that this algorithm
coefficients whose value is greater
shows better efficiency with a cost
than a set threshold value are
of negligible loss in picture
retained, while those below a
certain threshold value are set to
zero resulting in little loss in


The proposed algorithm was obtained. Three different 256x256

implemented in software and 8-bit grayscale images, Lena,
computer simulation results were
Barbara and Baboon, were used subband (HH) most of the times,
for experiments and showing that diagonal subband
results. Experiments have shown offers least contribution in image
that three-level wavelet reconstruction. Either a horizontal
decomposition achieves best (HL) or a vertical subband (LH)
results in terms of compression was marked as minimum only a
ratio and reconstructed PSNR. few times. A lossy threshold
Therefore, the input image was process was applied to minimum
decomposed into three-level weight subband to remove low
wavelet transform using valued data in it in order to achieve
Daubechies 9/7 biorthogonal further compression. In the
wavelet filters. The wavelet experiments, a threshold value of 2
transformed data then underwent a and 5 were used separately to
preprocessing stage. There, weight eliminate coefficients equal to or
of each detail subband was below it.
calculated to find the minimum
Embedded zerotree
weight subband in every level.
coding algorithm was implemented
Absolute values of all the
after preprocessing stage for
coefficients in a subband were
compression. The proposed
added together to calculate
algorithm used z-scan coding
subband weight. Out of all the
approach to compress significant
three subbands in each level, the
pixels starting from highest level
subband with minimum weight
and moved on to next lower level
was marked as minimum weight
in z-fashion. Adaptive arithmetic
subband. During experiments, the
coding was also used in the end for
minimum value subband was
found to be diagonal detail
further compression, with a cost of reconstruction. Comparative
complexity and computation time. results of compressed data size and
Reconstruction was done output PSNR of the method with
with the coded data and image EZW method are shown in Table
PSNR was calculated. This method 1, whereas results of further
was applied to Lena, Barbara and compression using adaptive
Baboon images for compression, arithmetic coding are shown in
and its effect on compressed Table 2. In the tables below, bytes
output and reconstructed image show compressed output in bytes
were observed. It can be seen that and PSNR show reconstructed
as the threshold is increased, the PSNR in decibels (dB). Also,
PSNR of reconstructed image HL=horizontal, H=vertical
decreases with rise in compression HH=diagonalsubband respectively.
ratio. Generally a low-valued These results show that the
threshold performs better with modified algorithm gives further
negligible drop in PSNR. The compression with a cost of slight
algorithm applied threshold to decrease in reconstructed PSNR.
minimum weight subband, and Figure 4 indicates different image
generated less amount of coded outputs of the wavelet based
bitstream data (high compression) compression.
with some loss in PSNR at the
The above method exploits ratio is achieved compared to
the property of tradeoff between original EZW coder after applying
compression ratio and output threshold with slight reduction in
PSNR, and reduces least important PSNR during reconstruction.
data in order to attain further
compression. Better compression

[1] M. Shapiro, “Embedded image coding using zerotrees of wavelet
coefficients”, IEEE Transactions on Signal
Processing, vol 41, pp 3445-3462, Dec 93.
[2] Pankaj N. Topiwala, “Wavelet image and video compression”, 1998

[3] Google search