Alpha coding of arbitrary-shaped objects for low bit-rate MPEG-4

O. Hadar, H. Folkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a new scheme for compact shape-coding which can reduce the needed bandwidth for low bit rate MPEG-4 applications. Our scheme is based on a coarse representation of the alpha plane with a block size resolution of 8×8 pixels. This arrangement saves bandwidth and reduces the algorithm complexity (number of computations), as compared to the Content-based Arithmetic Encoding (CAE) algorithm. In our algorithm, we encode the alpha plane of a macroblock with only 4 bits, while then we can further reduce the number of encoding bits by using the Huffman code. The encoding blocks are only contour macroblocks, transparent macroblocks are considered as background macroblocks, while opaque macroblocks are considered as object macroblocks. We show that the amount of bandwidth saving with representing the alpha-plane can reach a factor of 9.5. Such a scheme is appropriate for mobile applications where there is a lack of both bandwidth and processing power. We also speculate that our scheme will be compatible to the MPEG-4 standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Binary shape coding
  • Block shape coding
  • MPEG-4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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