|Publication number||USRE33244 E|
|Application number||US 07/179,760|
|Publication date||Jun 26, 1990|
|Filing date||Apr 11, 1988|
|Priority date||Mar 26, 1984|
|Publication number||07179760, 179760, US RE33244 E, US RE33244E, US-E-RE33244, USRE33244 E, USRE33244E|
|Inventors||Robert C. Davis, Steven E. Curd, Gregory L. Breedlove, Alan H. Colen, Louis P. Armstrong|
|Original Assignee||Bremson Data Systems|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (44), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (13), Classifications (7), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention.
The present invention relates to video imaging, in particular, to a computerized video imaging system for analyzing and displaying photographic transparencies for deriving printing illumination values.
2. Description of the Prior Art.
In the field of photographic printing, realistic and aesthetically pleasing photographic prints are produced from transparencies by carefully controlling the variable aspects of the printing process, including the printing illumination. In color printing, the printing illumination can be adjusted to compensate for various deficiencies and excesses in the original transparency. Color-controllable lamphouses are well known and are generally of either the subtractive type wherein filters are employed to block extensive amounts of light of the subtractive primary colors magenta, yellow, and cyan and the additive type wherein separate light sources are provided for the additive primary colors red, green and blue. An example of an additive lamphouse is disclosed in the Van Wandelen U.S. Pat. No. 4,124,292 wherein white output bulbs are provided with filters for producing the desired colors and controlled to provide the desired mix. Analog controls for lamphouses such as potentiometers and the like are known, but such controls require calibration and results tend to vary between different control systems.
Printing illumination systems have also been devised which analyze a transparency and adjust the printing illumination accordingly to produce color prints which fall within certain predetermined "population centers" within which certain types of prints are classified. Such techniques are particularly well adapted for volume color printing operations since they tend to be highly automated and require little, if any, operator input. However, for high quality color photography such as portrait work and the like, trained operators are generally employed for manually adjusting the printing illumination until lifelike and attractive color balances are achieved. A positive image of the transparency may be projected on a color CRT monitor, for example as shown in the Horiguchi et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,393,398. The operator then adjusts the illumination hue and density levels and observes the effects of such adjustments on the monitor. The operator will often compare the monitor image of the transparency with an existing reference image. Such reference images are generally in printed form and a problem exists in comparing CRT transparency images with photographic printed images. Because of the differences in the two display mediums and the inherent color distortions in the scanning and monitoring system, realistic and aesthetically pleasing photographic prints have been difficult, time consuming and expensive to achieve with prior art printing and analyzing systems.
Heretofore, there has not been available an imaging system which displays a reference image alongside a transparency image on a CRT monitor with the advantages and features of the present invention.
In the practice of the present invention, a system for analyzing and displaying a photographic transparency includes a control computer and an image control unit for video processing of electrical signals representative of an image on the transparency. A color controllable lamphouse is provided for illuminating the transparency. A reference image of known color balance is first analyzed by digitizing video signals representative thereof under controlled illumination from the lamphouse. A digitized representation of the reference image is stored in an image memory, the digital representations being altered according to look-up tables and then reconverted to analog signals and displayed on one half of the screen of a color video monitor. The production transparency is then illuminated by the lamphouse; and video signals representative of the image are digitized .[.;.]. .Iadd., .Iaddend.altered by the same look-up tables, and displayed on the other half of the monitor screen. The operator adjusts density and color controls to cause the computer to alter the balance of the lamphouse bulbs until the color balance of the production image visually matches the balance of the reference image. The operator presses an accept key, and the computer calculates color correction values representing the differences in the lamphouse color intensity settings for the adjusted color balance of the production transparency relative to the lamphouse setting for the reference transparency. The color correction values are printed or stored for use in printing a photograph from the production transparency.
The principal objects of the present invention are: to provide a computerized video imaging system; to provide such a system which is adapted for analyzing photographic transparencies; to provide such a system which is adapted for analyzing positive or negative transparencies; to provide such a system which includes a color-controllable lamphouse for illuminating the transparency; to provide such a system which may automatically adjust the illumination hue and density levels of the lamphouse in response to the subject matter of the transparency; to provide such a system which includes an image sensor for generating signals representative of an image from the transparency; to provide such a system which includes a digital image control unit for video processing of image information; to provide such a system which includes a zoom control associated with the image sensor for selective adjustment of the displayed size of a transparency and for allowing it to process images from transparencies of different sizes; to provide such a system which includes a focus control for the image sensor; to provide such a system which includes a color video monitor for displaying an image from the transparency; to provide such a system wherein the monitor is adapted for displaying an image of the transparency alongside a reference image; to provide such a system which may store and recall a plurality of reference images for various types of photographic subject matter; to provide such a system wherein an operator adjusts the displayed color balance of a transparency image by means of a vector length color control comprising a trackball associated with a color wheel; to provide such a system wherein the digital hardware and software are adapted for substantially self-calibration and diagnostic self-analysis to minimize maintenance requirements; to provide such a system wherein non-linearities of components within the system are compensated for by dynamic look-up tables which may be updated as components change because of age and which may be selectively called for negative or positive type transparencies; to provide such a system which is relatively drift free for long term consistency of accuracy; to provide such a system which does not impose its hardware limitations on the operator such that use of the system seems natural and acclimation of the operator is quick; to provide such a system which is compatible with a variety of peripheral devices for storing and processing information relating to the transparency and prints to be made therefrom; to provide such a system which is economical to manufacture, accurate and efficient in operation and which is particularly well adapted for the proposed usage thereof.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a workstation console housing the components of the computerized video imaging system according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a color analysis panel of the system.
FIG. 3 is a simplified block diagram of the computerized video imaging system.
FIG. 4 is an overall block diagram of the system.
FIG. 5 is a block diagram of an image control unit of the system according to the present invention.
As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure.
Referring to the drawings in more detail:
The reference numeral 1 generally designates a computerized video imaging system. The system 1 generally includes a console 2 providing an object plane 3 to support a target 4, namely a negative or positive photographic transparency; a color controllable lamphouse 5 for illuminating an image sensor 6 through the target 4; an image control unit 7 for video processing of electrical signals representative of an image of the target 4; and a color video monitor 8 for displaying a reproduced image of the target 4 as illuminated by the lamphouse 5. The overall intensity of the light from the lamphouse 5 is controlled through a computer system 10 by adjustment of a neutral density control 11, and the color of light emanating from the lamphouse 5 is controlled by a color control 12.
In general, the system 1 is employed for the color analysis of photographic transparencies 4 to determine the color correction necessary in the printing of a properly color balanced photographic print therefrom. A digitized representation of a reference transparency is stored in an image memory 14 and is displayed on one half of the screen of the monitor 8 along with an image of the transparency to be analyzed on the other half. The density control 11 and color control 12 are adjusted such that the color balance of the image of the test transparency 4 visually matches the color balance of the reference image. When such a match has been achieved, the computer system 10 is controlled to convert the adjustments made in the controls 11 and 12 into standardized color correction values for recording on a magnetic tape 15 or for hard copy recording by a printer 16. The color correction values are subsequently employed during the production of a photographic print of the target transparency 4.
Referring to FIG. 1, the console 2 is preferably a self-contained work station housing the entire components of the system 1 for convenient use by an operator. The density and color controls 11 and 12 are placed at a standard table height as is the object plane 3. The video monitor 8 is at eye level for a sitting operator. The tape drive 15 and paper tape printer 16 are provided on the display panel of the console 2. A floppy disc drive 17 is provided for the storage of reference images and for the storage of software and the like associated with the computer system 10. A keyboard or switch panel 18 functions as a master control panel for operation of the system 1. Such things as start-up and shut-down of the system 1, diagnostics, and other functions related to the system as a whole are controlled by operation of keys on the keyboard 18. A digital read-out 19 is associated with the keyboard 18. An audio speaker 20 may be provided for audibly signalling the operator.
The lamphouse 5 includes sources (not shown) of red, green and blue (RGB) light which are controllable in intensity either simultaneously by operation of the density control 11 or as to balance of individual color intensities by the color or hue and intensity control 12. A lamphouse which is particularly suitable for the system 1 is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,124,292 which is incorporated herein by reference. As will be detailed more below, the lamphouse 5 includes a closed loop lamphouse control system 23 for sensing and maintaining the set color balance.
Referring to FIG. 2, a color analysis control panel 24 has the density and color controls 11 and 12 mounted thereon. While joysticks controlling potentiometers could be employed, the density control 11 is preferably a device known as a trackwheel, and the color control 12 is preferably a trackball unit. The controls 11 and 12 are similarly constructed, the density control 11 being a single axis control while the color control 12 is a dual axis control. The trackwheel 11 operates by interruptions of a beam of light as the wheel is rotated. Such interruptions may be counted by the computer system 10 in order to detect operation of the control. The interruptions are sometimes referred to as "clicks". The trackball 12 operates on similar principles except that it can be rotated about two orthogonal axes. The trackwheel 11 and trackball 12 are conventional devices as may be obtained from Atari, Incorporated (Warner Communications).
The trackball 12 is referred to as a vector length color control wherein the direction of the vector indicates hue and the length of the vector indicates saturation of that hue. The trackball 12 is associated with a so-called color wheel 27 which surrounds the trackball on the panel 24. On the color wheel 27, the additive and subtractive primary colors are expressed as specific directions from an axis of the color wheel 27. The additive primary colors include red, green and blue while the subtractive primary colors include magenta, yellow, and cyan. The trackball 12 is interfaced through the computer system 10 to the lamphouse 5 such that rotation of the trackball 12 toward a particular color increases the intensity of that color in the balance of the light produced by the lamphouse 5. For example, rotation toward the color blue increases the intensity of the blue source within the lamphouse 5. This may be accomplished either by actually increasing the voltage on a blue bulb (not shown) to increase the blue intensity or by decreasing the intensities of the green and red bulbs. The situation is similar for altering the intensities of the subtractive primary colors. A characteristic of the trackwheel 11 and trackball 12 is that there are no limits to rotation of these controls. That is, the controls may be rotated more than a full circle about their axes. This feature removes the necessity of centering the controls each time a new transparency is analyzed. The computer system 10 counts units of angular rotation, that is, clicks, from the starting position of the control.
As illustrated, the additive and subtractive primary colors are positioned at 60 degree spacings about the trackball 12. As stated previously, the trackball 12 is a two axis device wherein the trackball in actuality can only be rotated toward and away from the operator (up and down) and from side to side (left and right). However, the effect of moving the trackball toward any direction on the color wheel 27 can be accomplished by combining the rotations about the two axes, that is, by vector addition. This facility, as well as the click counting operations are accomplished by routines within the .[.softwear.]. .Iadd.software .Iaddend.of the computer system 10.
The color analysis control panel 24 is provided with the principal controls for use in analyzing transparencies including a scan key 28, an accept key 29, and an option key 30. Dual sets of the keys 28, 29, and 30 are provided for left or right handed operators. Activation of one of the sets of the keys is selected by operation of one of the keys on the keyboard 18. In general, operation of scan key 28 indicates to the computer system 10 that a transparency is to be analyzed; operation of the accept key 29 informs the computer system 10 that the controls 11 and 12 have been adjusted such that an acceptably balanced image appears on the monitor 8; and operation of the option key 30 causes the image of the transparency 4 which is being illuminated by the lamphouse, that is, the "live" image, to be stored in the image memory 14. The panel 24 further includes a focus control 31 and a zoom control 32. The focus and zoom controls 31 and 32 are each a three-way on/off/on control and are used to control respectively a focus motor 35 and a zoom motor 36 (FIG. 4) which move elements of the image sensor optical system 37 to properly focus the image of the transparency 4 on the image sensor 6 and to cause a reproduction of the image to assume a desired size on the video monitor 8.
The image sensor 6, optics 37, focus motor 35, and zoom motor 36 may simply comprise a conventional color video camera, preferably of high quality. Alternatively, these components may be separate components assembled within the console 2. In particular, the image sensor 6 is preferably a solid state image sensor which is commercially available as a separate component from the optics and motors. The particular image sensor which is employed would be determined by its individual characteristics in comparison with the characteristics of further components of the system 1.
In using the system 1 to analyze a photographic transparency 4, a reference transparency is placed on the object plane 3 below the lamphouse 5. The reference image 4 is a well balanced negative or positive transparency which is a reproduction of a subject similar to the subject of the transparencies which will be analyzed. For example, if the production transparencies are portraits, the reference transparency would be a properly color balanced portrait, sometimes referred to as a "Shirley". If the production transparencies were images of outdoor scenes, the reference image would also be of an outdoor scene, preferably including similar subject matter such as sky, vegetation, water or the like. The scan key 28 is operated to place the system in a mode for analyzing the reference image. The reference image is recorded by the image sensor, digitized by the image control unit 7, and displayed on the video monitor 8. The density control 11 and color control 12 are manipulated in order to set up the lamphouse 5 for the reference image. Presumably, a substantially white light, that is equal parts of red, green and blue, would be set using the reference image. Alternatively, data for a start-up lamp-house balance could be stored within the computer system 10. Operation of the accept key 29 in conjunction with a particular key on the keyboard 18 would signal to the computer system 10 that the current image is a reference image. Operation of the option key 30 would then cause the reference image to be stored digitally in the image memory 14.
The reference transparency is then removed and a production transparency of the same type (that is, negative or positive) is placed on the object plane 3 below the lamphouse 5. Operation of the scan key 28 causes the image as sensed by the image sensor 6 to be digitized and processed in such a manner that the live image of the production transparency 4 along with the reference image stored in the memory 14 are reconverted to analog signals and displayed side-by-side in a split screen mode on the video monitor 8. For example, the production image can be displayed on the left half 39 of the screen of the monitor 8 and the reference image is displayed on the right half 40 of the screen. Alternatively, the live production image can be displayed on the entirety of the screen of the monitor 8 and the reference image may be displayed on a second video monitor 41 (FIG. 4) for comparison.
The operator manipulates the density control 11 and color control 12 to achieve a color balance which visually matches the color balance of the reference image. When such a balance has been achieved, the operator presses the accept key 29 to cause the computer system to calculate the color correction values for the primary colors employed which represent the differences between the intensities of the primary components at which the lamphouse bulbs were adjusted for the reference image and the intensities which have been adjusted to achieve a satisfactory color balance for the production image. The color correction values may then be printed as numbers on a paper tape by the paper tape printer 16, stored as binary information on a magnetic tape by the magnetic tape drive 15, or stored on a magnetic card by a magnetic card read/write device (not shown). Alternatively, the computer system 10 may be controlled to cause the color correction values to be printed as a bar code by a bar code printer 43.
Regardless of the medium of expression of the color correction values, such values are employed to balance the color of the light which is used to expose the photographic paper for producing a photographic print from the production transparency 4. If the photographic printer (not shown) requires the manual setting of color correction values, the numbers printed by the paper tape printer 16 would be appropriate. However, it is conceivable that such a photographic printing machine could be adjusted automatically from information read from a magnetic tape or bar code. Additionally, the photographic printing machine might be controlled from a central computer 45, in which case the color correction values would be transmitted as binary information from the computer system 10 to such a central computer 45. In addition, such a central computer might be employed to process order information and billing information for a photographic printing job order to which the current production transparency 4 relates.
After the accept key 29 is operated for the current production transparency, the transparency 4 may be removed from the object plane 3 and the next transparency placed on the object plane for analysis. There is no necessity for centering or resetting the density and color controls 11 and 12 since the color correction values will be referenced to the color balance settings of the lamphouse 5 which were adjusted for the reference transparency. The operator simply operates the scan key 28 and dials the density and color controls 11 and 12 until the color balance of the production image as viewed on the monitor 8 matches the color balance of the reference image thereon.
Referring to FIG. 4, the computer system 10 includes a control computer 50 which includes a control computer bus 51. The computer bus 51 include address lines, data lines, and control lines for communication between the computer 50 and peripheral devices connected thereto. The computer 50 includes read/write memory or RAM 52 for temporary storage of information and a read only memory or ROM 53 in which is stored the operating software for the computer 50 for controlling the imaging system 1. The computer 50 may be any type of general purpose digital computer which is powerful enough and operates at a sufficient speed to control the system 1. A particularly suitable central processing unit for the computer 50 is an LSI-11/23 system manufactured by the Digital Equipment Corporation.
The paper tape printer 16, bar code printer 43, and the keyboard/digital display unit 18/19 are interfaced to the computer 50 through a serial interface unit 55 which is connected to the computer bus 51. The serial interface unit 55 provides a plurality of standardized serial interface ports, such as RS-232 serial ports. The computer system 10 may include a bar code reader or light pen 56 for entry of such information as job order numbers and the like into the computer system 10. Other peripheral equipment may be connected to the serial interface unit 55 as will be detailed below.
The density control 11, color control 12, scan key 28, accept key 29, and option key 30 are all connected through a parallel interface unit 59 which is connected to the computer bus 51. The trackwheel used for the density control 11 requires two bits to determine increasing or decreasing density direction plus a density interrupt connection. In a similar manner, the trackball 12 requires two bits for left or right X direction determination plus an X interrupt and two bits for an up and down Y direction determination plus a Y interrupt connection. The serial interface unit 55 and .[.paralleled.]. .Iadd.parallel .Iaddend.interface unit 59 are substantially conventional interface units and are, therefore, not detailed herein.
The floppy disc drive 17 is connected to the computer 50 through a floppy disc controller 60 of conventional design. A disc on the drive 17 may be used to store a reference image or a plurality of reference images. In addition, software related to the operation of the computer 50, the settings of the color intensities of the lamphouse 5, the focus and zoom settings of the image sensor optics 37, and information related to the image control unit 7 can be stored on the floppy disc 17. In addition, the floppy disc drive 17 may be supplemented by a hard disc drive (not shown). The magnetic tape drive 15 is interfaced to the computer 50 through a magnetic tape controller 61 of conventional design. A central computer 45 may be interfaced to the control computer 50 by any suitable means such as a 20 milliamp loop or Teletype (registered trademark) interface 62.
In the lamphouse control system 23, each of the light sources is individually controlled; however, for simplicity of illustration and description, the functions are grouped. The light emanating from the lamphouse 5 is sensed by individual red, green and blue (RGB) photoelectric sensors 65. The outputs from the sensors 65 are connected to RGB comparators respectively with RGB reference voltages 67 which are supplied by RGB digital to analog converters 68. The outputs of the comparators 66 are supplied to RGB analog to digital converters 69, the digital outputs of which are connected to a lamphouse controller 70. The lamphouse controller 70 may be a dedicated digital control computer and is interfaced to the computer bus 51. Settings for the lamphouse light sources may be received from the computer 50 and are affected by the operation of the density control 11 and color control 12. The lamphouse controller 70 controls the supply voltages to the lamphouse light sources through the digital-to-analog converters 68. The converters 68 include scaling amplifiers (not shown) for deriving the reference voltages 67 and the supply voltages for the lamp house light sources. The lamphouse control system 23, in addition to initially setting the lamphouse color balance and adjusting same as the controls 11 and 12 are manipulated, is able to maintain the set color balance as the light sources age. The lamphouse control system 23 are described above is one type of conventional closed loop lamphouse control system and other types of lamphouse control systems may be employed in the system 1.
The system 1 allows selective manual focusing and zooming by the operator by use of the focus and zoom controls 31 and 32. Preferably, the system 1 further includes an automatic focusing controller 72. Once the image from the transparency 4 has been focused on the image sensor 6 by operation of the focus control 31, the auto focus controller 72 is operative to maintain a focused image as the zoom control 32 is operated to vary the size of the image as viewed on the video monitor 8. The controller 72 includes software algorithms which selectively control the focus motor 35 and zoom motor 36 to maintain a set focus as the image sensor optics 37 are moved to change the size of the displayed image.
Referring to FIG. 5, the image control unit 7 is the video processing component of the system 1. The image control unit 7 includes red, green and blue analog to digital converters 75 which convert the respective analog video signals from the image sensor 6 to digital representations thereof. Likewise, red, green, and blue digital to analog converters 76 convert the digital representations of the image sensed by the sensor 6 or which are stored in the image memory 14 to analog red, green, and blue video signals for driving the video monitor 8. Communication of digital representations of the video signals between components within the image control unit 7 is provided by an image data bus 77. Further, the image control unit 7 provides communication between the image bus 77 and the computer bus 51.
The master timing component of the image control unit 7 is a video synchronization or sync generator 80. The video sync generator 80 provides horizontal and vertical timing signals to the image sensor 6 and to the video monitor 8. Further, the generator 80 provides timing signals for the manipulation of information to and from the memories within the image control unit 7 including the image memory 14, a scratch pad memory 82, and a look-up table memory 83. As stated previously, the image memory 14 is used to store a digital representation of a reference image. The scratch .Iadd.pad .Iaddend.memory 82 is employed for implementing the exchange of digital information between the computer bus 51 and the image bus 77. The look-up table memory 83 is a read/write memory and is employed in a calibration or selective scaling function.
The images displayed on the video monitor 8 are generated as vertically spaced horizontal lines of picture elements or pixels. The color of each pixel is determined by the binary value of three bytes of digital information associated respectively with the red, green, and blue components of the pixel. Each byte has seven significant bits whereby 128 levels of intensity for each color can be expressed. Each byte has an eight bit which in the system 1 is insignificant. The analog voltage of each primary color signal for the video monitor 8 is decoded by the digital to analog converters 76 from bytes received from the look-up table memory 83 and indirectly therethrough from either the image memory 14 for reference images or the analog to digital converters 75 for live images sensed by the image sensor 6.
The image memory 14 is controlled by an image memory address, timing, and control unit or image memory controller 85. Likewise, the scratch pad memory 82 is controlled by a scratch pad address, timing and control unit or scratch pad controller 86. The scratch pad controller 86 also controls the operation of the look-up table memory 84. The image memory controller 85 functions to generate addresses within the image memory 14 and provides the necessary read and write enable signals for operation of the image memory 14. The illustrated image memory is implemented by dynamic RAM chips such that the multiplexing of addresses is required for accessing memory locations therein. The controller 85 provides such multiplexing signals. In order to maintain the reference image on the video monitor 8, the bytes providing the pixel information must be outputted from the image memory 14 at a video rate and in proper synchronism. The image memory controller 85 provides timing signals for such video scanning of the image memory in cooperation with the video sync generator 80.
In the illustrated embodiment of the system 1, the video monitor 8 is operated in a split screen mode with the live image on one half of the screen and the reference image on the other half. The video monitor is operated with a nominal pixel resolution of 512 vertically spaced lines of 512 horizontally positioned pixels. The image memory 14 is sized to store a single half frame image for display upon the monitor 8. Therefore, the image memory has a capacity of 128K bytes for each of the red, green, and blue primary colors.
The scratch pad memory 82 is a high speed read/write memory which is employed principally to interface between the computer bus 51 and the image bus 77. The use of a separate image bus within the image control unit 7 relieves computer bus 51 of the necessity of carrying image data which is used solely within the image control unit 7. The image bus 77, therefore, is optimized for carrying the pixel information. The configuration of the image bus 77 is not directly compatible with the configuration of the computer bus 51 which is optimized for use by the control computer 50. The manner in which the scratch pad memory 82 is operated faciliates the transfer of data between the two buses. A computer bus interface logic unit 88 interfaces the scratch pad memory 82 to the computer bus 51, and an image bus interface logic unit 89 interfaces the scratch pad memory 82 to the image bus 77. The interface units 88 and 89 include controlled bus transceivers (not shown). Further, the computer bus interface unit 88 includes address decoders. The interface units 88 and 89 are operated under the control of scratch pad controller 86 in cooperation with the video sync generator 80 and the image memory controller 85. In the illustrated image control unit 7, the scratch pad memory 82 functions as a conventional RAM with respect to the computer bus 51. However, with respect to the image bus 77, the memory 82 functions as a so-called silo or sequential memory in the manner of a magnetic tape. The particular mode in which the scratch pad memory 82 functions is controlled by the scratch pad controller 86.
The look-up table memory 83 functions to calibrate the system 1 such that the images displayed on the video monitor 8, the adjustments made to the density and color controls 11 and 12, and the color correction numbers calculated by the control computer 50 are meaningfully interrelated. The information within the look-up table memory 83 compensates for non-linearities inherent in the components of the system 1, particularly the analog components such as the lamphouse 5, the image sensor 6, the analog to digital converters 75, the digital to analog converters 76, and the video monitor 8. The system 1 is provided with self diagnostic software routines which may be stored .[.on.]. .Iadd.in .Iaddend.the read only memory 53 or on a disc in the disc drive 17 which may be periodically run in order to check the response of such analog components. For example, the lamphouse 5 might be adjusted by the computer 50 to a particular color balance, and the response thereto by the image sensor 6 as converted by the analog to digital converter 75 could be analyzed to determine the response of those elements. If necessary, the look-up table information can be altered in order to compensate for detected changes in response. In ordinary operation, the look-up table memory 83 functions by employing the pixel bytes as addresses which cause the output of data bytes from the memory 83 to the digital to analog converters 76 under the control of the scratch pad controller 86. However, when the look-up table bytes are altered by the computer 50, the memory 83 functions as a substantially conventional RAM under the control of the scratch pad controller 86.
In the illustrated embodiment of the image .[.controlled.]. .Iadd.control .Iaddend.unit 7, the analog to digital converters 75 are so-called "flash" analog to digital converters for operation at a video rate. The converters 75 output a 7 bit byte for each of the primary colors. The video sync generator 80, image memory controller 85, and scratch pad controller 86 are, preferably, implemented as programmable logic arrays along with more common types of integrated circuit logic elements. The scratch pad controller 86 includes control registers (not shown) for storing commands from the control computer 50 to control the operation of the image control unit 7. The split screen mode employed for displaying a live image of a photographic transparency along with a reference image on the video monitor 8 is controlled by cooperation of the video sync generator 8, the image memory controller 85, and elements within the scratch controller 86.
While the system 1 has been described in terms of analyzing transparent photographic targets 4, the system 1 also has utility in color analyzing opaque targets, such as photographic prints. Another foreseen use of the system is in the analysis of pre-exposed control strips which have standard color patches thereon. Such strips are employed by photographic laboratories for testing their color processes.
For analyzing such opaque targets, the system 1 would be provided with means (not shown) for reflecting light from the lamphouse 5 and for reflecting the illuminated image onto the image sensor 6. Such means would involve mirrors (not shown) and possibly some optical elements (not shown) depending on the size of the opaque target. A reference image would be stored of a standard print of subject matter similar to that of the target 4. In addition, look-up tables for opaque targets would be selectively stored in the look-up table memory 83. In all other respects, the analysis of opaque targets using the system 1 would be substantially similar to the analysis of transparent targets.
The computerized video imaging system 1 as described is highly accurate and convenient to use by an operator in the color analysis of photographic transparencies. Because of the accuracy of operation, the instances of reanalyzing transparancies is minimized such that production rate is increased. Further, because of the employment of digital circuitry whereever possible, the use of software calibration and diagnostics, and the virtual absence of variable resistors required to be adjusted for calibration, the maintenance of the quality of production is greatly simplified.
It is to be understood that while certain forms of the present invention have been illustrated and described herein, it is not to be limited to the specific forms or arrangement of parts described and shown.
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|GB1556812A *||Title not available|
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|U.S. Classification||382/141, 348/578, 358/527, 382/167|
|Aug 9, 1993||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jul 31, 1997||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12