## Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

# comp.compression Frequently Asked Questions (part 2/3)Section - [77] Introduction to Fractal compression (long)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Single Page )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Neighborhoods ]

Top Document: comp.compression Frequently Asked Questions (part 2/3)
Previous Document: [76] What is Vector Quantization?
Next Document: [78] The Burrows-Wheeler block sorting algorithm (long)
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
```
Written by John Kominek <kominek@links.uwaterloo.ca>

Seven things you should know about Fractal Image Compression (assuming that
you want to know about it).

1. It is a promising new technology, arguably superior to JPEG --
but only with an argument.
2. It is a lossy compression method.
3. The fractals in Fractal Image Compression are Iterated Function
Systems.
4. It is a form of Vector Quantization, one that employs a virtual
codebook.
5. Resolution enhancement is a powerful feature but is not some
magical way of achieving 1000:1 compression.
6. Compression is slow, decompression is fast.
7. The technology is patented.

That's the scoop in condensed form. Now to elaborate, beginning with a little
background.

A Brief History of Fractal Image Compression
--------------------------------------------

The birth of fractal geometry (or rebirth, rather) is usually traced to IBM
mathematician Benoit B. Mandelbrot and the 1977 publication of his seminal
book The Fractal Geometry of Nature. The book put forth a powerful thesis:
traditional geometry with its straight lines and smooth surfaces does not
resemble the geometry of trees and clouds and mountains. Fractal geometry,
with its convoluted coastlines and detail ad infinitum, does.

This insight opened vast possibilities. Computer scientists, for one, found a
mathematics capable of generating artificial and yet realistic looking land-
scapes, and the trees that sprout from the soil. And mathematicians had at
their disposal a new world of geometric entities.

It was not long before mathematicians asked if there was a unity among this
diversity. There is, as John Hutchinson demonstrated in 1981, it is the branch
of mathematics now known as Iterated Function Theory. Later in the decade
Michael Barnsley, a leading researcher from Georgia Tech, wrote the popular
book Fractals Everywhere. The book presents the mathematics of Iterated Func-
tions Systems (IFS), and proves a result known as the Collage Theorem. The
Collage Theorem states what an Iterated Function System must be like in order
to represent an image.

This presented an intriguing possibility. If, in the forward direction, frac-
tal mathematics is good for generating natural looking images, then, in the
reverse direction, could it not serve to compress images? Going from a given
image to an Iterated Function System that can generate the original (or at
least closely resemble it), is known as the inverse problem. This problem
remains unsolved.

Barnsley, however, armed with his Collage Theorem, thought he had it solved.
He applied for and was granted a software patent and left academia to found
Iterated Systems Incorporated (US patent 4,941,193. Alan Sloan is the co-
grantee of the patent and co-founder of Iterated Systems.)  Barnsley announced
his success to the world in the January 1988 issue of BYTE magazine. This
article did not address the inverse problem but it did exhibit several images
purportedly compressed in excess of 10,000:1. Alas, it was not a breakthrough.
The images were given suggestive names such as "Black Forest" and "Monterey
Coast" and "Bolivian Girl" but they were all manually constructed. Barnsley's
patent has come to be derisively referred to as the "graduate student algo-
rithm."

o Acquire a graduate student.
o Give the student a picture.
o And a room with a graphics workstation.
o Lock the door.
o Wait until the student has reverse engineered the picture.
o Open the door.

Attempts to automate this process have met little success. As Barnsley admit-
ted in 1988: "Complex color images require about 100 hours each to encode and
30 minutes to decode on the Masscomp [dual processor workstation]." That's 100
hours with a _person_ guiding the process.

Ironically, it was one of Barnsley's PhD students that made the graduate
student algorithm obsolete. In March 1988, according to Barnsley, he arrived
at a modified scheme for representing images called Partitioned Iterated
Function Systems (PIFS). Barnsley applied for and was granted a second patent
on an algorithm that can automatically convert an image into a Partitioned
Iterated Function System, compressing the image in the process. (US patent
5,065,447. Granted on Nov. 12 1991.) For his PhD thesis, Arnaud Jacquin imple-
mented the algorithm in software, a description of which appears in his land-
mark paper "Image Coding Based on a Fractal Theory of Iterated Contractive
Image Transformations." The algorithm was not sophisticated, and not speedy,
but it was fully automatic. This came at price: gone was the promise of
10,000:1 compression. A 24-bit color image could typically be compressed from
8:1 to 50:1 while still looking "pretty good." Nonetheless, all contemporary
fractal image compression programs are based upon Jacquin's paper.

That is not to say there are many fractal compression programs available.
There are not. Iterated Systems sell the only commercial compressor/decompres-
sor, an MS-Windows program called "Images Incorporated." There are also an
increasing number of academic programs being made freely available. Unfor-
tunately, these programs are -- how should I put it? -- of merely academic
quality.

This scarcity has much to do with Iterated Systems' tight lipped policy about
their compression technology. They do, however, sell a Windows DLL for pro-
grammers. In conjunction with independent development by researchers else-
where, therefore, fractal compression will gradually become more pervasive.
Whether it becomes all-pervasive remains to be seen.

Historical Highlights:
1977 -- Benoit Mandelbrot finishes the first edition of The Fractal
Geometry of Nature.
1981 -- John Hutchinson publishes "Fractals and Self-Similarity."
1983 -- Revised edition of The Fractal Geometry of Nature is
published.
1985 -- Michael Barnsley and Stephen Demko introduce Iterated
Function Theory in "Iterated Function Systems and the Global
Construction of Fractals."
1987 -- Iterated Systems Incorporated is founded.
1988 -- Barnsley publishes the book Fractals Everywhere.
1990 -- Barnsley's first patent is granted.
1991 -- Barnsley's second patent is granted.
1992 -- Arnaud Jacquin publishes an article that describes the first
practical fractal image compression method.
1993 -- The book Fractal Image Compression by Michael Barnsley and Lyman
Hurd is published.
-- The Iterated Systems' product line matures.
1994 -- Put your name here.

On the Inside
-------------

The fractals that lurk within fractal image compression are not those of the
complex plane (Mandelbrot Set, Julia sets), but of Iterated Function Theory.
When lecturing to lay audiences, the mathematician Heinz-Otto Peitgen intro-
duces the notion of Iterated Function Systems with the alluring metaphor of a
Multiple Reduction Copying Machine. A MRCM is imagined to be a regular copying
machine except that:

1. There are multiple lens arrangements to create multiple overlapping
copies of the original.
2. Each lens arrangement reduces the size of the original.
3. The copier operates in a feedback loop, with the output of one
stage the input to the next. The initial input may be anything.

The first point is what makes an IFS a system. The third is what makes it
iterative. As for the second, it is implicitly understood that the functions
of an Iterated Function Systems are contractive.

An IFS, then, is a set of contractive transformations that map from a defined
rectangle of the real plane to smaller portions of that rectangle. Almost
invariably, affine transformations are used. Affine transformations act to
translate, scale, shear, and rotate points in the plane. Here is a simple
example:

|---------------|              |-----|
|x              |              |1    |
|               |              |     |
|               |         |---------------|
|               |         |2      |3      |
|               |         |       |       |
|---------------|         |---------------|

Before                      After

Figure 1. IFS for generating Sierpinski's Triangle.

This IFS contains three component transformations (three separate lens ar-
rangements in the MRCM metaphor). Each one shrinks the original by a factor of
2, and then translates the result to a new location. It may optionally scale
and shift the luminance values of the rectangle, in a manner similar to the
contrast and brightness knobs on a TV.

The amazing property of an IFS is that when the set is evaluated by iteration,
(i.e. when the copy machine is run), a unique image emerges. This latent image
is called the fixed point or attractor of the IFS. As guaranteed by a result
known as the Contraction Theorem, it is completely independent of the initial
image. Two famous examples are Sierpinski's Triangle and Barnsley's Fern.
Because these IFSs are contractive, self-similar detail is created at every
resolution down to the infinitesimal. That is why the images are fractal.

The promise of using fractals for image encoding rests on two suppositions: 1.
many natural scenes possess this detail within detail structure (e.g. clouds),
and 2. an IFS can be found that generates a close approximation of a scene
using only a few transformations. Barnsley's fern, for example, needs but
four. Because only a few numbers are required to describe each transformation,
an image can be represented very compactly. Given an image to encode, finding
the optimal IFS from all those possible is known as the inverse problem.

The inverse problem -- as mentioned above -- remains unsolved. Even if it
were, it may be to no avail. Everyday scenes are very diverse in subject
matter; on whole, they do not obey fractal geometry. Real ferns do not branch
down to infinity. They are distorted, discolored, perforated and torn. And the
ground on which they grow looks very much different.

To capture the diversity of real images, then, Partitioned IFSs are employed.
In a PIFS, the transformations do not map from the whole image to the parts,
but from larger parts to smaller parts. An image may vary qualitatively from
one area to the next (e.g. clouds then sky then clouds again). A PIFS relates
those areas of the original image that are similar in appearance. Using Jac-
quin's notation, the big areas are called domain blocks and the small areas
are called range blocks. It is necessary that every pixel of the original
image belong to (at least) one range block. The pattern of range blocks is
called the partitioning of an image.

Because this system of mappings is still contractive, when iterated it will
quickly converge to its latent fixed point image. Constructing a PIFS amounts
to pairing each range block to the domain block that it most closely resembles
under some to-be-determined affine transformation. Done properly, the PIFS
encoding of an image will be much smaller than the original, while still
resembling it closely.

Therefore, a fractal compressed image is an encoding that describes:
1. The grid partitioning (the range blocks).
2. The affine transforms (one per range block).

The decompression process begins with a flat gray background. Then the set of
transformations is repeatedly applied. After about four iterations the attrac-
tor stabilizes. The result will not (usually) be an exact replica of the
original, but reasonably close.

Scalelessnes and Resolution Enhancement
---------------------------------------

When an image is captured by an acquisition device, such as a camera or scan-
ner, it acquires a scale determined by the sampling resolution of that device.
If software is used to zoom in on the image, beyond a certain point you don't
see additional detail, just bigger pixels.

A fractal image is different. Because the affine transformations are spatially
contractive, detail is created at finer and finer resolutions with each itera-
tion. In the limit, self-similar detail is created at all levels of resolu-
tion, down the infinitesimal. Because there is no level that 'bottoms out'
fractal images are considered to be scaleless.

What this means in practice is that as you zoom in on a fractal image, it will
still look 'as it should' without the staircase effect of pixel replication.
The significance of this is cause of some misconception, so here is the right
spot for a public service announcement.

/--- READER BEWARE ---\

Iterated Systems is fond of the following argument. Take a portrait that is,
let us say, a grayscale image 250x250 pixels in size, 1 byte per pixel. You
run it through their software and get a 2500 byte file (compression ratio =
25:1). Now zoom in on the person's hair at 4x magnification. What do you see?
A texture that still looks like hair. Well then, it's as if you had an image
1000x1000 pixels in size. So your _effective_ compression ratio is 25x16=400.

But there is a catch. Detail has not been retained, but generated. With a
little luck it will look as it should, but don't count on it. Zooming in on a
person's face will not reveal the pores.

Objectively, what fractal image compression offers is an advanced form of
interpolation. This is a useful and attractive property. Useful to graphic
artists, for example, or for printing on a high resolution device. But it does
not bestow fantastically high compression ratios.

\--- READER BEWARE ---/

That said, what is resolution enhancement? It is the process of compressing an
image, expanding it to a higher resolution, saving it, then discarding the
iterated function system. In other words, the compressed fractal image is the
means to an end, not the end itself.

The Speed Problem
-----------------

The essence of the compression process is the pairing of each range block to a
domain block such that the difference between the two, under an affine trans-
formation, is minimal. This involves a lot of searching.

In fact, there is nothing that says the blocks have to be squares or even
rectangles. That is just an imposition made to keep the problem tractable.

More generally, the method of finding a good PIFS for any given image involves
five main issues:
1. Partitioning the image into range blocks.
2. Forming the set of domain blocks.
3. Choosing type of transformations that will be considered.
4. Selecting a distance metric between blocks.
5. Specifying a method for pairing range blocks to domain blocks.

Many possibilities exist for each of these. The choices that Jacquin offered
in his paper are:
1. A two-level regular square grid with 8x8 pixels for the large
range blocks and 4x4 for the small ones.
2. Domain blocks are 16x16 and 8x8 pixels in size with a subsampling
step size of four. The 8 isometric symmetries (four rotations,
four mirror flips) expand the domain pool to a virtual domain
pool eight times larger.
3. The choices in the last point imply a shrinkage by two in each
direction, with a possible rotation or flip, and then a trans-
lation in the image plane.
4. Mean squared error is used.
5. The blocks are categorized as of type smooth, midrange, simple
edge, and complex edge. For a given range block the respective
category is searched for the best match.

The importance of categorization can be seen by calculating the size of the
total domain pool. Suppose the image is partitioned into 4x4 range blocks. A
256x256 image contains a total of (256-8+1)^2  = 62,001 different 8x8 domain
blocks. Including the 8 isometric symmetries increases this total to 496,008.
There are (256-4+1)^2 = 64,009 4x4 range blocks, which makes for a maximum of
31,748,976,072 possible pairings to test. Even on a fast workstation an ex-
haustive search is prohibitively slow. You can start the program before de-
parting work Friday afternoon; Monday morning, it will still be churning away.

Increasing the search speed is the main challenge facing fractal image com-
pression.

Similarity to Vector Quantization
---------------------------------

To the VQ community, a "vector" is a small rectangular block of pixels. The
premise of vector quantization is that some patterns occur much more frequent-
ly than others. So the clever idea is to store only a few of these common
patterns in a separate file called the codebook. Some codebook vectors are
flat, some are sloping, some contain tight texture, some sharp edges, and so
on -- there is a whole corpus on how to construct a codebook. Each codebook
entry (each domain block) is assigned an index number. A given image, then, is
partitioned into a regular grid array. Each grid element (each range block) is
represented by an index into the codebook. Decompressing a VQ file involves
assembling an image out of the codebook entries. Brick by brick, so to speak.

The similarity to fractal image compression is apparent, with some notable
differences.
1. In VQ the range blocks and domain blocks are the same size; in an
IFS the domain blocks are always larger.
2. In VQ the domain blocks are copied straight; in an IFS each domain
block undergoes a luminance scaling and offset.
3. In VQ the codebook is stored apart from the image being coded; in
an IFS the codebook is not explicitly stored. It is comprised of
portions of the attractor as it emerges during iteration. For that
reason it is called a "virtual codebook." It has no existence
independent of the affine transformations that define an IFS.
4. In VQ the codebook is shared among many images; in an IFS the
virtual codebook is specific to each image.

There is a more refined version of VQ called gain-shape vector quantization in
which a luminance scaling and offset is also allowed. This makes the similari-
ty to fractal image compression as close as can be.

Compression Ratios
------------------

Exaggerated claims not withstanding, compression ratios typically range from
4:1 to 100:1. All other things equal, color images can be compressed to a
greater extent than grayscale images.

The size of a fractal image file is largely determined by the number of trans-
formations of the PIFS. For the sake of simplicity, and for the sake of com-
parison to JPEG, assume that a 256x256x8 image is partitioned into a regular
partitioning of 8x8 blocks. There are 1024 range blocks and thus 1024 trans-
formations to store. How many bits are required for each?

In most implementations the domain blocks are twice the size of the range
blocks. So the spatial contraction is constant and can be hard coded into the
decompression program. What needs to be stored are:

x position of domain block        8     6
y position of domain block        8     6
luminance scaling                 8     5
luminance offset                  8     6
symmetry indicator                3     3
--    --
35    26 bits

In the first scheme, a byte is allocated to each number except for the symme-
try indicator. The upper bound on the compression ratio is thus (8x8x8)/35 =
14.63. In the second scheme, domain blocks are restricted to coordinates
modulo 4. Plus, experiments have revealed that 5 bits per scale factor and 6
bits per offset still give good visual results. So the compression ratio limit
is now 19.69. Respectable but not outstanding.

There are other, more complicated, schemes to reduce the bit rate further. The
most common is to use a three or four level quadtree structure for the range
partitioning. That way, smooth areas can be represented with large range
blocks (high compression), while smaller blocks are used as necessary to
capture the details. In addition, entropy coding can be applied as a back-end
step to gain an extra 20% or so.

Quality: Fractal vs. JPEG
-------------------------

The greatest irony of the coding community is that great pains are taken to
precisely measure and quantify the error present in a compressed image, and
great effort is expended toward minimizing an error measure that most often is
-- let us be gentle -- of dubious value. These measure include signal-to-noise
ratio, root mean square error, and mean absolute error. A simple example is
systematic shift: add a value of 10 to every pixel. Standard error measures
indicate a large distortion, but the image has merely been brightened.

With respect to those dubious error measures, and at the risk of over-sim-
plification, the results of tests reveal the following: for low compression
ratios JPEG is better, for high compression ratios fractal encoding is better.
The crossover point varies but is often around 40:1. This figure bodes well
for JPEG since beyond the crossover point images are so severely distorted
that they are seldom worth using.

Proponents of fractal compression counter that signal-to-noise is not a good
error measure and that the distortions present are much more 'natural looking'
than the blockiness of JPEG, at both low and high bit rates. This is a valid
point but is by no means universally accepted.

What the coding community desperately needs is an easy to compute error meas-
ure that accurately captures subjective impression of human viewers. Until
then, your eyes are the best judge.

Finding Out More
----------------

Please refer to item 17 in part 1 of this FAQ for a list of references,
available software, and ftp sites concerning fractal compression.

```

## User Contributions:

The Major Advantages of uniform dating

online dating services is not a newest platform but it has taken a sudden rise after the advancement in the technologies. This has revolutionised the way singles meet. With many struggles of dating in today sphere, More people these days are turning their heads towards the internet.

Even for arranged your marriage, Older dating and stuff like that, People are changing themselves and adopting the platform with all open heart and mind. Beside several advantages these platforms possess, Location and religion are the factors that set it apart. You can find your life partner from everywhere and out of any religion. These religions and castes barely matters when it comes to online dating sites.

really fast, Easy and convenient: At the first, Dating platforms might seem to be a daunting process, [url=https://charmdatescamreviews.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/charmdate-review-why-should-i-date-ukrainian-girls-how-charmdate-protects-me/]online dating ukraine[/url] But in real it is a simple and efficient process to register and connect with people all around the globe. The only thing you need to do is creating an eye catchy and appealing profile mentioning all needed details about you, Your hobbies and your fascinates. Its speedy and convenient access makes it a must have platform for those busy corporate out there.

Less pressing: This is one of the best platforms especially for the people who are shy or nervous as they can connect with people they find interesting via chats unless they get familiar enough with them to either have a verbal talk or start with dating in person. It gives you relaxed atmosphere, Where you can take out efficient time to think to understand and what you want to say to proceed ahead with the conversation.

Meet lots more people: This platform gives user a numerous choices to select from and also it is possible that you can connect with many people altogether and you can find sometimes a person who can be a great friend and a person who can be eligible to be your partner in the future time. This platform will allow you to pick the best one out of many with whom you think you can share your interests with.

add on a Deeper Level: This online site help you know a person back to front. The only appearance you have of your mate is his profile picture, Else you have to know it with the help of the chat you have with him. this can help you evaluate a person behind his face, numerous experts judge who these persons are truly are. Such dating platforms leave you unbiased to be love someone you share similar interests with.

Full Disclosure: The online dating sites allow you to specify whatever is your expectation and intention, Right right from the start so that you can find people looking for the same things and interests as of yours. The major benefit of all such platform is that it helps preventing misunderstandings and disappointments.

fee: Last but not the cheapest, Cost saving is the most appealing benefit of online dating because real life dates are expensive. You need to hangout with your partner every weekend and you further have to spend money either on food or night-life or both.

These platforms therefore gives you enable you to get to know the person well in advance through these online portals and thereafter you should spend money on real dates. different, On the very first meet even you must spend money with no surety that you will like the person as a partner or not.
Sep 19, 2021 @ 12:12 pm
Hey ... Im looking a man..
I love sex. Here are my erotic photos - is.gd/bPOmnQ
Sep 27, 2021 @ 2:14 pm
Hello !! Im looking a lover...
I dream of hard sex! Write me - tinyurl.com/yjefe8mm
Sep 30, 2021 @ 5:17 pm
Hey baby.. my name is Kelly...
I love oral sex! Write me - is.gd/sTu2T8
Oct 3, 2021 @ 5:05 am
Fill out the form and win a FREE \$500 or \$1000 voucher! - tinyurl.com/ygvk79dz
Oct 4, 2021 @ 6:18 pm
Hello dear!!! Im looking a man!
I dream of hard sex! Write me - is.gd/gPWpcf
Oct 7, 2021 @ 6:18 pm
Hi baby... my name Diane!!!
I love sex. Here are my erotic photos - tinyurl.com/yghegmr2
Oct 10, 2021 @ 7:07 am
Hey dear.. Im looking a man...
I want sex! Write me - is.gd/MvyEhY
Oct 19, 2021 @ 7:07 am
hallo baby!! Im looking a lover!!
I dream of hard sex! Write me - tinyurl.com/yjs64g36
Oct 27, 2021 @ 3:15 pm
Hello dear! my name is Evelyn..
If you want to meet me, I'm here - tinyurl.com/ydun3hp3
Nov 5, 2021 @ 9:09 am
hey baby. my name Lauren!!!
I love oral sex! Write me - tinyurl.com/ygqxenap
Nov 14, 2021 @ 10:22 pm
hallo baby.. my name Mary!
Do you want to see a beautiful female body? Here are my erotic photos - tinyurl.com/yhtxq5lg
Dec 19, 2021 @ 11:23 pm
Hi dear!! Im looking a man!
I want sex! Here are my photos - is.gd/M7qBFG
Dec 27, 2021 @ 2:02 am
hallo !! my name Megan!
I love oral sex! Write me - chilp.it/d870a00
Jan 12, 2022 @ 10:10 am
Hey baby!!! Im looking a man!
I love sex. Write me - u.to/j-bKGw
Jan 22, 2022 @ 1:13 pm
I can agree with Judyhb in this topic. Her name may really be Evelyn, but she choosed another nickname out of shame. Kind of sad, Evelyn is a nice name..
Also, I want sex! Don't have any photos though :/
Sep 3, 2022 @ 7:19 pm
Good write ups. With thanks! https://definitionessays.com/ degree thesis
May 7, 2023 @ 4:16 pm
How Are You

Hello, I wish for to subscribe for this webpage to get most recent updates, thus where can i do it please help out.

https://cutt.ly/x55XjOQ

Best Regards
Sep 22, 2023 @ 11:11 am
hallo baby! Im looking a lover!
If you want to meet me, I'm here - is.gd/CZZI2g
Pan Afuki
Dec 25, 2023 @ 12:12 pm
Matt Mahoney is the trashcan matt or trashcan man. "MY LIFE FOR YOU FLAGG!". We will do the FAGGY PANTS and follow it up with RLE. A close second is Albert Reddit's GAY GZIP, or GAY ZIP, or simply ARZ. We do the faggy pants and it go like this and like that and do the RLE and there we are.

Top Document: comp.compression Frequently Asked Questions (part 2/3)
Previous Document: [76] What is Vector Quantization?
Next Document: [78] The Burrows-Wheeler block sorting algorithm (long)

Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Single Page

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
jloup@gzip.OmitThis.org

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM