In this paper, we propose a method for halftoning color images based on an error diffusion technique, a color design criterion and Neugebauer models for expressing colors. For a natural extension of the conventional method for grayscale error diffusion to its color version, we first reformulate grayscale error diffusion with a one-dimensional Neugebauer model. Then we increase the dimension of the model to derive a color error diffusion method based on a three-dimensional Neugebauer model in RGB (red, green and blue) color space. Moreover, we propose a sparse Neugebauer model based on a color design criterion, or the minimal brightness variation criterion (MBVC), from which we derive a sparse Neugebauer model-based error diffusion method. Experimental results show that color halftone images produced by the proposed methods preserve the color contents in original continuous-tone images better than that by conventional color error diffusion methods. We also demonstrate that the proposed sparse method reduce halftone noise better than the state-of-the-art method based on MBVC.
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