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Spatially Aware Metadata for Raw Reconstruction
A camera sensor captures a raw-RGB image that is then processed to a standard RGB (sRGB) image through a series of onboard operations performed by the camera's image signal processor (ISP). Among these processing steps, local tone mapping is one of the most important operations used to enhance the overall appearance of the final rendered sRGB image. For certain applications, it is often desirable to de-render or unprocess the sRGB image back to its original raw-RGB values. This "raw reconstruction" is a challenging task because many of the operations performed by the ISP, including local tone mapping, are nonlinear and difficult to invert. Existing raw reconstruction methods that store specialized metadata at capture time to enable raw recovery ignore local tone mapping and assume that a global transformation exists between the raw-RGB and sRGB color spaces. In this work, we advocate a spatially aware metadata-based raw reconstruction method that is robust to local tone mapping, and yields significantly higher raw reconstruction accuracy (6 dB average PSNR improvement) compared to existing raw reconstruction methods. Our method requires only 0.2% samples of the full-sized image as metadata, has negligible computational overhead at capture time, and can be easily integrated into modern ISPs.