Structure artifact free multi-level error diffusion algorithm
Error-diffusion is widely used to generate intensity levels between the primary levels of multi-level colour printing devices (ink-jet printers, electrophotographic printers). Standard error-diffusion algorithms produce structure artifacts at rational intensity levels such as 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3. The boundary between structure artifacts breaks the visual continuity in regions of low intensity gradients and generates undesirable false contours. These undesirable structure artifacts are also visible when error-diffusion is used to generate intermediate intensity levels between primary levels. In this contribution, we propose to remove these structure artifacts by introducing small discontinuities in the tone correction curve, thereby avoiding reproducing the intensity levels responsible for the generation of structure artifacts. The method can not be applied to bilevel printing, since the forbidden intensity regions responsible for the structure artifacts would be too large. In multi-level colour printing however, the forbidden intensity regions are small enough and do not produce any visible intensity breaks in varying intensity wedges.