An Unsupervised Deep Learning Approach for Real-World Image Denoising

Dihan Zheng · Sia Huat Tan · Xiaowen Zhang · Zuoqiang Shi · Kaisheng Ma · Chenglong Bao

Keywords: [ Real-world image denoising ] [ unsupervised image denoising ]


Designing an unsupervised image denoising approach in practical applications is a challenging task due to the complicated data acquisition process. In the real-world case, the noise distribution is so complex that the simplified additive white Gaussian (AWGN) assumption rarely holds, which significantly deteriorates the Gaussian denoisers' performance. To address this problem, we apply a deep neural network that maps the noisy image into a latent space in which the AWGN assumption holds, and thus any existing Gaussian denoiser is applicable. More specifically, the proposed neural network consists of the encoder-decoder structure and approximates the likelihood term in the Bayesian framework. Together with a Gaussian denoiser, the neural network can be trained with the input image itself and does not require any pre-training in other datasets. Extensive experiments on real-world noisy image datasets have shown that the combination of neural networks and Gaussian denoisers improves the performance of the original Gaussian denoisers by a large margin. In particular, the neural network+BM3D method significantly outperforms other unsupervised denoising approaches and is competitive with supervised networks such as DnCNN, FFDNet, and CBDNet.

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