Diving into Darkness: A Dual-Modulated Framework for High-Fidelity Super-Resolution in Ultra-Dark Environments

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Jiaxin Gao, Ziyu Yue, Yaohua Liu, Sihan Xie, Xin Fan, Risheng Liu


Super-resolution tasks oriented to images captured in ultra-dark environments is a practical yet challenging problem that has received little attention. Due to uneven illumination and low signal-to-noise ratio in dark environments, a multitude of problems such as lack of detail and color distortion may be magnified in the super-resolution process compared to normal-lighting environments. Consequently, conventional low-light enhancement or super-resolution methods, whether applied individually or in a cascaded manner for such problem, often encounter limitations in recovering luminance, color fidelity, and intricate details. To conquer these issues, this paper proposes a specialized dual-modulated learning framework that, for the first time, attempts to deeply dissect the nature of the low-light super-resolution task. Leveraging natural image color characteristics, we introduce a self-regularized luminance constraint as a prior for addressing uneven lighting. Expanding on this, we develop Illuminance-Semantic Dual Modulation (ISDM) components to enhance feature-level preservation of illumination and color details. Besides, instead of deploying naive up-sampling strategies, we design the Resolution-Sensitive Merging Up-sampler (RSMU) module that brings together different sampling modalities as substrates, effectively mitigating the presence of artifacts and halos. Comprehensive experiments showcases the applicability and generalizability of our approach to diverse and challenging ultra-low-light conditions, outperforming state-of-the-art methods with a notable improvement (i.e., $\uparrow$5\% in PSNR, and $\uparrow$43\% in LPIPS). Especially noteworthy is the 19-fold increase in the RMSE score, underscoring our method's exceptional generalization across different darkness levels. The code will be available online upon publication of the paper.

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