Blue-noise multitone dithering

J. Bacca Rodríguez, G. R. Arce, D. L. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The introduction of the blue-noise spectra - high-frequency white noise with minimal energy at low frequencies - has had a profound impact on digital halftoning for binary display devices, such as inkjet printers, because it represents an optimal distribution of black and white pixels producing the illusion of a given shade of gray. The blue-noise model, however, does not directly translate to printing with multiple ink intensities. New multilevel printing and display technologies require the development of corresponding quantization algorithms for continuous tone images, namely multitoning. In order to define an optimal distribution of multitone pixels, this paper develops the theory and design of multitone, blue-noise dithering. Here, arbitrary multitone dot patterns are modeled as a layered superposition of stack-constrained binary patterns. Multitone blue-noise exhibits minimum energy at low frequencies and a staircase-like, ascending, spectral pattern at higher frequencies. The optimum spectral profile is described by a set of principal frequencies and amplitudes whose calculation requires the definition of a spectral coherence structure governing the interaction between patterns of dots of different intensities. Efficient algorithms for the generation of multitone, blue-noise dither patterns are also introduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1368-1382
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Blue-noise dithering
  • Digital halftoning
  • Direct binary search (DBS)
  • Error diffusion
  • Multitoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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