Loss-Specific Training of Non-Parametric Image Restoration Models: A New State of the Art
After a decade of rapid progress in image denoising, recent methods seem to have reached a performance limit. Nonetheless, we find that state-of-the-art denoising methods are visually clearly distinguishable and possess complementary strengths and failure modes. Motivated by this observation, we introduce a powerful non-parametric image restoration framework based on Regression Tree Fields (RTF). Our restoration model is a densely-connected tractable conditional random field that leverages existing methods to produce an image-dependent, globally consistent prediction. We estimate the conditional structure and parameters of our model from training data so as to directly optimize for popular performance measures. In terms of peak signal-to-noise-ratio (PSNR), our model improves on the best published denoising method by at least 0.26dB across a range of noise levels. Our most practical variant still yields statistically significant improvements, yet is over 20 faster than the strongest competitor. Our approach is well-suited for many more image restoration and low-level vision problems, as evidenced by substantial gains in tasks such as removal of JPEG blocking artefacts.