Expansion embedding techniques for reversible watermarking

Diljith M. Thodi, Jeffrey J. Rodríguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1225 Scopus citations


Reversible watermarking enables the embedding of useful information in a host signal without any loss of host information. Tian's difference-expansion technique is a high-capacity, reversible method for data embedding. However, the method suffers from undesirable distortion at low embedding capacities and lack of capacity control due to the need for embedding a location map. We propose a histogram shifting technique as an alternative to embedding the location map. The proposed technique improves the distortion performance at low embedding capacities and mitigates the capacity control problem. We also propose a reversible data-embedding technique called prediction-error expansion. This new technique better exploits the correlation inherent in the neighborhood of a pixel than the difference-expansion scheme. Prediction-error expansion and histogram shifting combine to form an effective method for data embedding. The experimental results for many standard test images show that prediction-error expansion doubles the maximum embedding capacity when compared to difference expansion. There is also a significant improvement in the quality of the watermarked image, especially at moderate embedding capacities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-730
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Content authentication
  • Difference expansion (DE)
  • Digital watermarking
  • Expansion embedding
  • Prediction-error expansion
  • Reversible watermarking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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