Learning to Generate Realistic Noisy Images via Pixel-level Noise-aware Adversarial Training

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Yuanhao Cai, Xiaowan Hu, Haoqian Wang, Yulun Zhang, Hanspeter Pfister, Donglai Wei


Existing deep learning real denoising methods require a large amount of noisy-clean image pairs for supervision. Nonetheless, capturing a real noisy-clean dataset is an unacceptable expensive and cumbersome procedure. To alleviate this problem, this work investigates how to generate realistic noisy images. Firstly, we formulate a simple yet reasonable noise model that treats each real noisy pixel as a random variable. This model splits the noisy image generation problem into two sub-problems: image domain alignment and noise domain alignment. Subsequently, we propose a novel framework, namely Pixel-level Noise-aware Generative Adversarial Network (PNGAN). PNGAN employs a pre-trained real denoiser to map the fake and real noisy images into a nearly noise-free solution space to perform image domain alignment. Simultaneously, PNGAN establishes a pixel-level adversarial training to conduct noise domain alignment. Additionally, for better noise fitting, we present an efficient architecture Simple Multi-scale Network (SMNet) as the generator. Qualitative validation shows that noise generated by PNGAN is highly similar to real noise in terms of intensity and distribution. Quantitative experiments demonstrate that a series of denoisers trained with the generated noisy images achieve state-of-the-art (SOTA) results on four real denoising benchmarks.