(Sub)bit-fields (Coding with fractions of bits, Part II)


Last week, we used the 6×7×6 palette as an example of very simple fraction-of-a-bit coding1. However, we can generalize still a bit more to allow single field extraction and modification

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The Well-Tempered Palette (Part 3)


This week, we’ll discuss a cool, but failed, experiment.

In the last few weeks (of posts, because in real time, I worked on that problem over a week-end) we’ve looked at how to generate well distributed, maximally different colors. The methods were to use well-distributed sequences or lattices to ensure that the colors are equidistant. What if we used physical analogies to push the colors around so that they are maximally apart?

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The Well-Tempered Palette (Part 2)


Last week, we’ve had a look at how to distribute maximally different colors on the RGB cube. But I also remarked that we could use some other color space, say HSV. How do we distribute colors uniformly in HSV space?

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The Well-Tempered Palette


When we use false color to encode useful information in an image, it helps greatly if the colors are meaningful in themselves (like a rainbow to encode heat) or maximally different when the image is segmented (like a map showing geologic provinces). But how do we chose those maximally different colors?

Somehow, we need a maximally distributed set of points in RGB space (but not necessarily RGB). We might have just what we need for this! We’ve discussed Halton sequences before. They’re a simple way of progressively and uniformly distribute points over an interval. The sequence starts by the ends of the interval then progressively fills the gaps. It generates the sequence 0, 1, 0.5, 0.25, 0.75, 0.125, 0.625, 0.375, 0.875, …

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Ad Hoc Compression Methods: RLE (part II)


Yestermorning I presented an ad hoc compression method known as RLE, or run-length encoding and I got quite more reactions than I thought I would. Many suggested doing plenty of other stuff despite the fact that the post was about RLE, not about <insert your favorite compression method>. But something very nice happened: people got interested and many suggestions came forth.

I decided to implement the median-based prediction method as suggested by Dark Shikari here. Let us see the results!

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Ad Hoc Compression Methods: RLE


Suppose you have been sub-contracted by a video game company, say Nintendo, to come up with an low power, low-memory, implementation of a popular video game, say, an installment of the infamous Pokémon series. The envisaged device is very slow (it has a 2MHz processor) but has a 220×176 pixels color screen capable of displaying 32768 different colors. It also has a hardware sprite mode, but sprites are limited to 4 distinct colors. You have to encode the complete database of Pokémons, which are several hundreds, in as little space as possible. Each image vary somewhat in size, but can only have 4 distinct colors from the possible palette of 32768 colors.

A typical Pokémon would look like:

A typical Pokémon image, shown enlarged and in original size.

A typical Pokémon image, shown enlarged and in original size.

Since the artists put a lot of efforts into drawing the critters in 4 colors, and because of the hardware requirements, you cannot use a compression algorithm that modifies or creates more colors than the original image had, therefore excluding JPEG. Moreover, the JPEG codec would be too complex to port to the platform considered. You must therefore use a simple lossless codec.

We will be comparing 5 codecs for the Pokémon image database. We will be looking at a “block” codec, which will serve as a comparison for a non-RLE codec. We will be looking at 5 variations on the theme of run length encoding, or RLE, namely, the All Counts, the Bit Select, and Auto-Trigger RLE. The last variant will help Auto-Trigger RLE by using predictors, transforming the input image into one that is easier to compress using RLE.

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