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Old 7th January 2023, 00:12   #141  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

For those interested, I have released the 0.2.9.3 version of NHW.

I have modified the quantization scheme.Based on psychovisual tuning, this new version has more precision, but a little less neatness.

Hope it was a good decision, as I maybe did not test on enough images...

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 9th January 2023, 18:07   #142  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

Just a very quick update for those interested, I have released the 0.2.9.4 version of NHW.I have fine-tuned the quantization in the encoder, and so this new version is better, with notably a little more precision and a little more neatness.

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 11th January 2023, 18:22   #143  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

I am continuing to improve/fine-tune the quantization in NHW, and so I have released the new version 0.2.9.5.

-I tried to simplify/clean up the quantization code but I didn't have same results... so for now the quantization code is a little complicated but it works well...-

I find that this new version is better and has quite an interesting balance between neatness and precision.

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 19th January 2023, 00:13   #144  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

For those interested, I have released the 0.2.9.6 version of NHW.This new version has a better quantization based on psychovisual fine-tuning.

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

As NHW is still extremely fast, I hope in 2023 it could find some interest within niche applications.

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 24th January 2023, 22:24   #145  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

For those interested, I have released the 0.2.9.7 version of NHW.I am continuing to improve the quantization, and so this new version is visually better, with a better balance between neatness and precision.

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 25th January 2023, 16:01   #146  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

I forgot to let you know that the new version 0.2.9.7 also improves the high quality settings (-q17 to -q23, previously -l3 to -h3), if it might interest those who test at high quality.

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 26th January 2023, 18:23   #147  |  Link
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Hello,

I found time to study a little deeper the new version of the high quality settings in NHW, it was 10 years that I did not work on them! Actually new quantization step is imperfect, in the sense that it is not coded in the feedback-loop-correction, but it seems this version that gives the best visual results.Maybe it would need more extensive tests (and I really lack time), but (in the past) there were quite many people interested in NHW high quality settings, and I would be really interested to know what would they think of this new version?

Very quickly to finish, as some people remarked me, yes I am more relaxed now, NHW is a good hobby project (and nothing more), and of course I won't be angry and won't insist if it doesn't lead to a commercial/industry application... (and also anyway my last chance was with the niche market as NHW is extremely fast, but they don't seem interested, so I am more cool now, NHW will stay an experimental hobby project for my spare time...)

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 27th January 2023, 17:59   #148  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

Really hope that I am not disturbing you, but for those interested, I have improved quantization in NHW, and so now it is visually better, with a better balance between neatness and precision.

As it is a small modification and correction, I did not release a new version but I have updated the binaries.

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

I know I am publishing a lot of incremental updates, but my aim is to release/reach the 0.3.0 version in march, because after I think I will not have time to work on NHW on that pace anylonger.

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 3rd February 2023, 18:29   #149  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

Some few update, I've tried this past week some quantization psychovisual tuning/improvement in NHW, some simple processing some complex, but it seems more and more complex now and actually I didn't see real visual improvements as I validate with my eyes... It maybe seems easier to develop for PSNR or VMAF score actually, but I am not used to it, and especially I absolutely don't trust PSNR for visual quality perception with the NHW algorithm...

Where it becomes also quite complex, is that a (new) quantization step is not coded in the feedback-loop correction, so this should be notably less efficient, but actually it gives (slightly) better visual results... So if the "normal logic" is not respected, then psychovisual optimization seems quite complex...

I'll see if I can finish to improve quantization and pre_processing for 0.3.0 version.I'll also have to look at and improve wavelet coding after, but this is a complex task (for me).

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 4th February 2023, 00:00   #150  |  Link
benwaggoner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhw_pulsar View Post
Some few update, I've tried this past week some quantization psychovisual tuning/improvement in NHW, some simple processing some complex, but it seems more and more complex now and actually I didn't see real visual improvements as I validate with my eyes... It maybe seems easier to develop for PSNR or VMAF score actually, but I am not used to it, and especially I absolutely don't trust PSNR for visual quality perception with the NHW algorithm...
That's absolutely the tension in practical encoder development and tuning. Golden eyeball hours are really expensive and scarce, with metrics orders of magnitude cheaper. So, how do you make things look better when you can only look at a minuscule fraction of what you're trying to improve.

So there is a constant effort to find better, more subjectively correlated metrics, then understanding how to use those metrics to the best effect, and then how to use those metrics to guide eyeballs to where they're most likely to see a difference that makes a difference.

No metric is perfect. Heck, no metric is really all that good. The improvements in how we encode happen in large part in the places where we find metrics lie, and we find a better way to discern the truth.

And even a good metric needs constant reevaluation and tuning as new types of content are introduced. All publicly available metrics are a lot less accurate in HDR than SDR, and in 4K than lower resolutions.

Even a bad metric is better than nothing, and even a good metric isn't a replacement for seeing. Balancing those is essential to real-world encoding.
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Old 7th February 2023, 18:26   #151  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

For those interested, I have released the 0.2.9.8 version of NHW.I have continued to improve quantization based on psychovisual tuning.

As I also tried quite complex code that did not work, I think I am not far from version 0.3.0.

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 23rd February 2023, 23:19   #152  |  Link
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Hello,

Just a quick update, I think I have nearly finished to refine quantization and pre_processing, and so version 0.2.9.8 can be considered as the version 0.3.0 release candidate 1.

Some people were very hoping after for the next step as it is extremely important, that I adapt NHW to any image size, design a post-processing filter that will remove aliasing, but so sadly these are very too massive efforts and I am currently totally unable to do them.

So very quickly to finish, I also fear that after version 0.3.0, I will quasi put on pause NHW for 2023. -As also the industry, the niche industry,... are definitely not interested in NHW (and helping for its development), then I will certainly dedicate this year to other priorities.-

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 13th March 2023, 22:04   #153  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

Just a very quick little update, I don't have time to work on NHW now, and so I don't think I will release the version 0.3.0 as desired and announced.

However, I could find very little time on my spare time to make visual comparison of the last version 0.2.9.8 (or v0.3.0-rc1), and actually it could start to be satisfying now, I would find now that NHW has an okay image/result based on my visual perception.Some experts told me that if NHW could have an okay image/result just as BPG and AVIF but at a very very faster computation/complexity and extreme speed, then it could be a good fit for some niche applications.

I don't think I will really have time to work on NHW this year but if the door of the niche market is not completely closed, that's right that it could interest me to find development possibilities within this industry.

To finish, I wanted to let you know that if you could give some time/study to NHW and would have improvements to it, do not hesitate to show up, would be great!

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 15th April 2023, 17:06   #154  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

I still don't have time to work on NHW, but I am still hoping for an answer/update from the compression bodies (AOM, MPEG) about their emerging technologies exploration projects.Some experts told me that AOM and MPEG are massively exploring/investing in AV2 and ECM and especially in AI/neural-networks video compression, I could not test the latter but experts say that they are completely outperforming traditional codecs, and so AI has the potential to revolutionize image/video compression, hence the massive investment.So, that's a good point.

But also, an expert told me that, according to him, compression bodies should also consider for the near future a low-complexity design/codec (as a parallel project).I know it's a tricky question, but do you think compression bodies like AOM and MPEG could start to find motivation to explore/develop a low-complexity design? -Yes that way I could submit NHW, as I find that it has an okay image/results just like the latest AOM and MPEG products but at an extreme speed.-

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 18th April 2023, 20:38   #155  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

I have finally and officially released the version 0.3.0 release candidate 1 of NHW.

I finally found some time to improve quantization in the encoder AND decoder.This new version seems a little visually better.(Hope I didn't make a mistake, I can still revert the commit).

More at: http://nhwcodec.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 21st April 2023, 20:09   #156  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

Just a quick update to let you know that I have finally visually validated the last version (even if I had doubts...).I am happy with the visual results of NHW v0.3.0-rc1 because the neatness is still very interesting for me and the precision is now better and better...

-This improvement could be surprising to work, ah! the "joy" of psycho-visual tuning-....

Nonetheless, I am happy to have found some time to dedicate to my codec, as I really don't have the perfect health for that currently... -we'll see if I can release the version 0.3.0-...

Any feedback on v0.3.0-rc1 welcome!

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 9th May 2023, 19:32   #157  |  Link
nhw_pulsar
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Hello,

Just a quick update, I could not find time to work on NHW, but I feel I am more and more coming to an end with the project after all these years.The next major/essential steps like adapting to any image size, designing a post-processing filter that will remove aliasing,... are above my forces.

I feel that my work has some interesting points (neatness, extreme speed,...) but I don't really know why since 2008 (!) companies, industry, academic research (universities,...) don't answer/don't talk with me.I feel maybe that I have a big lack of credibility and legitimacy, -that's right I did not make great studies/education, I have an extremely bad curriculum, and especially now I have severe health problems that handicap me a lot and that first prevent me from being really able to work on NHW (like adapting to any image size,...)-.

So I feel now I am more and more reaching the maximum I could do from my little side.If you would have more weight than me, for example if you could spread the word of NHW among your company, research organization,... I would be very thankful to you because after more than 16 years of existence, NHW seems in a critical phase, at least my side I don't know if I will be able to provide the necessary efforts to continue its right development.

Cheers,
Raphael

Last edited by nhw_pulsar; 9th May 2023 at 19:39.
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Old 14th May 2023, 19:03   #158  |  Link
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Hello,

Yes that's right that the image/video compression industry has founded its development on PSNR, SSIM, VMAF metrics improvement.And yes that's right, NHW has horrible/catastrophic PSNR, SSIM, VMAF scores, and I understand that based on these criteria, then NHW technology is not tenable.But visually, I find that if you care about neatness of image and general perception/impression you have of the image, then NHW can be visually good.

But that's right that visual impression is very subjective, for example I have tested VVC intra (VTM 12.3 slowest preset) and yes VVC has exceptional PSNR, and when you look at its results, yes VVC has an exceptional precision, but when I visually compare to NHW, I find that NHW has a better neatness, and actually all in all, with my "taste" I visually prefer the results of the latest version of NHW than VVC.(I do not test at extreme compression, as NHW is not developed for such use cases).

Would some of you share my opinion? Or definitely not? Any feedback/opinion is very welcome!

To finish, with the latest NHW v0.3.0-rc1 version, do you think industry could start to change its position for some use cases (like niche applications) as NHW is extremely fast, or it won't be possible to move the lines around PSNR, SSIM, VMAF metrics?

Cheers,
Raphael
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Old 17th May 2023, 18:57   #159  |  Link
benwaggoner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhw_pulsar View Post
Hello,

Yes that's right that the image/video compression industry has founded its development on PSNR, SSIM, VMAF metrics improvement.And yes that's right, NHW has horrible/catastrophic PSNR, SSIM, VMAF scores, and I understand that based on these criteria, then NHW technology is not tenable.But visually, I find that if you care about neatness of image and general perception/impression you have of the image, then NHW can be visually good.

But that's right that visual impression is very subjective, for example I have tested VVC intra (VTM 12.3 slowest preset) and yes VVC has exceptional PSNR, and when you look at its results, yes VVC has an exceptional precision, but when I visually compare to NHW, I find that NHW has a better neatness, and actually all in all, with my "taste" I visually prefer the results of the latest version of NHW than VVC.(I do not test at extreme compression, as NHW is not developed for such use cases).

Would some of you share my opinion? Or definitely not? Any feedback/opinion is very welcome!
Early-stage encoders, and reference encoders in general, tend to be very tuned for metrics without much psychovisual optimization. They're also optimized for moving images more than still frames.

A more relevant comparison would be something like x264's --tune stillimage. AVIF and HEIC encoders likely have something similar, although nothing as good as a well-tuned x265.

I think I found something like this provided good web quality at a small file size:

x265 --preset placebo --range full --keyint 1 --fps 1 --crf 18 --aq-mode 4 --aq-strength 2 --psy-rd 3 --psy-rdoq 5 --rd-refine

--no-sao and a lower crf can improve detail if a bigger size isn't an issue.
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Old 17th May 2023, 19:28   #160  |  Link
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Originally Posted by benwaggoner View Post
AVIF and HEIC encoders likely have something similar, although nothing as good as a well-tuned x265.
Just for this case, BPG seems well-tuned x265.I even find that for me, its -m 1 preset (fastest speed) is visually very good, and at the time I tested on a previous AVIF version if I remember correctly, only AVIF -s 0 (slowest preset/best quality) was visually a little better, but AVIF -s 0 was a lot and a lot slower than BPG -m 1.

Again (and I'll stop repeating and boring you with that), I find that BPG -m 1 and AVIF -s 0 have good precision but I find that NHW has more neatness, and personally all in all, my eyes prefer neatness... but it doesn't seem a shared opinion.

Cheers,
Raphael
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