Asif Khan and Mahmoud R. El-Sakka, "Non-Local Means using Adaptive Weight Thresholding", International Conference on Computer Vision Theory and Applications, VISAPP'2016, pp. 67-76, February 2016, Rome, Italy.
Non-local means (NLM) is a popular image denoising scheme for reducing additive Gaussian noise. It uses a patch-based approach to find similar regions within a search neighborhood and estimates the denoised pixel based on the weighted average of all pixels in the neighborhood. All weights are considered for averaging, irrespective of the value of the weights. This paper proposes an improved variant of the original NLM scheme by thresholding the weights of the pixels within the search neighborhood, where the thresholded weights are used in the averaging step. The threshold value is adapted based on the noise level of a given image. The proposed method is used as a two-step approach for image denoising. In the first step the proposed method is applied to generate a basic estimate of the denoised image. The second step applies the proposed method once more but with different smoothing strength. Experiments show that the denoising performance of the proposed method is better than that of the original NLM scheme, and its variants. It also outperforms the state-of-the-art image denoising scheme, BM3D, but only at low noise levels (sigma less than or equal 80).