Lazy transformation of values

In image display and input/output, it is sometimes necessary to transform the value (or the type) of individual pixels. For example, if you want to view an image with an unconventional range (e.g., -1000 to 1000, for which the normal range 0=black to 1=white will not be very useful), then those values might need to be transformed before display. Likewise, if try to save an image to disk that contains some out-of-range or NaN values, you are likely to experience an error unless the values are put in a range that makes sense for the specific file format.

There are several approaches to handling this problem. One is to compute a new image with scaled values, and for many users this may be the simplest option. However, particularly with large images (or movies) this can present a performance problem. In such cases, it's better to separate the concept of the "map" (transformation) function from the image (array) itself. (Here it's worth mentioning the MappedArrays package, which allows you to express lazy transformations on values for an entire array.)

ImageCore contains several such transformation functions that are frequently useful when working with images. Some of these functions operate directly on values:

These two functions force the returned value to lie between 0 and 1, or each color channel to lie between 0 and 1 for color images. (clamp01nan forces NaN to 0, whereas clamp01 does not handle NaN.)

A simple application of these functions is in saving images, where you may have some out-of-range values but don't care if they get truncated:

img01 = clamp01nan.(img)

img01 is safe to save to an image file, whereas trying to save img might possibly result in an error (depending on the contents of img).

Other functions require parameters:

These return a function rather than a value; that function can then be applied to pixels of the image. For example:

julia> f = scaleminmax(-10, 10)
(::#9) (generic function with 1 method)

julia> f(10)

julia> f(-10)

julia> f(5)

It's worth noting that you can combine these: for example, you can combine scalesigned and colorsigned to map real values to linear colormaps. For example, suppose we want to visualize some data, mapping negative values to green hues and positive values to magenta hues. Let's say the negative values are a bit more compressed, so we're going to map -5 to pure green and +20 to pure magenta. We can achieve this easily with the following:

julia> sc = scalesigned(-5, 0, 20)  # maps [-5, 0, 20] -> [-1, 0, 1]
(::#15) (generic function with 1 method)

julia> col = colorsigned()          # maps -1 -> green, +1->magenta
(::#17) (generic function with 1 method)

julia> f = x->col(sc(x))            # combine the two
(::#1) (generic function with 1 method)

julia> f(-5)

julia> f(20)

julia> f(0)

julia> f(10)

Finally, takemap exists to automatically set the parameters of certain functions from the image itself. For example,

takemap(scaleminmax, A)

will return a function that scales the minimum value of A to 0 and the maximum value of A to 1.