When Color Constancy Goes Wrong: Correcting Improperly White-Balanced Images

Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2019

Publication date: June 16, 2019

Mahmoud Afifi, Brian Price, Scott Cohen, Michael Brown

This paper focuses on correcting a camera image that has been improperly white-balanced. This situation occurs when a camera’s auto white balance fails or when the wrong manual white-balance setting is used. Even after decades of computational color constancy research, there are no effective solutions to this problem. The challenge lies not in identifying what the correct white balance should have been, but in the fact that the in-camera white-balance procedure is followed by several camera-specific nonlinear color manipulations that make it challenging to correct the image’s colors in post-processing. This paper introduces the first method to explicitly address this problem. Our method is enabled by a dataset of over 65,000 pairs of incorrectly white-balanced images and their corresponding correctly white-balanced images. Using this dataset, we introduce a k-nearest neighbor strategy that is able to compute a nonlinear color mapping function to correct the image’s colors. We show our method is highly effective and generalizes well to camera models not in the training set.

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