RidgeRun Auto exposure/Auto white balance library for DM368 and DM365

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Video capture quality can be enhance with image processing, like auto white balance(AWB) and auto exposure algorithms(AE):

  • Auto exposure performs automatic adjustments of the image brightness according to the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor.
  • Auto white balance automatically compensates color differences based on lighting so white actually appears white.

Some camera sensors don't include auto white balance and/or auto exposure processing, so RidgeRun offers a library with AE and AWB algorithms for the Leopard Board DM365 and the 5Mpixel camera.


Three applications are required to support the auto exposure and auto white-balance (AEW) adjustments:

  • Ipiped, a D-Bus server for controlling and configuring the camera sensor, the dm365 video processor and the aew library.
  • Librraew, a library that includes auto white balance and auto exposure algorithms.
  • Ipipe-client, an D-Bus client that can be used to invoke any of the methods supported by the Ipiped.

Running Ipiped

Ipiped must run in background:

 ipiped &

Ipiped registers with D-Bus and waits until ipipe-client requests to execute a method.

Running Ipipe-client

Ipipe-client is a Dbus client that use commands to invoke methods of the ipiped, so ipiped must be running to use ipipe-client. A command can required arguments depending of the functionality. Ipipe-client has two operation modes, you can ask to execute a single command or you can open an interactive console to execute a group of commands.

To execute a single command, you can use the following command line syntax

 ipipe-client <command> <argument 1> ... <argument n>

To get into the interactive console, you have to run ipipe-client without any command. Then to execute a command you only need to use the command and the required arguments.

ipipe-client$ <command 1> <argument 1> ... <argument n>
ipipe-client$ <command 2> <argument 1> ... <argument n>

To quit the interactive console you can use quit or exit.

In order to know the commands that are available run:

ipipe-client help

or get into the interactive console and execute help.

This shows a description of each command, as follows:

Command                         Description

help                    Displays the help text for all the possible commands or a specific command.
set-debug               Enable/Disable debug messages.
init-aew                Initialize AEW algorithms.
stop-aew                End AEW algorithm.
shell                   Execute a shell command(shell_cmd) using interactive console.
ping                    Show if ipipe-daemon is alive.
quit                    Quit from the interactive console.
exit                    Exit from the interactive console.
get-video-processor     Show the video processor that is being used.
get-sensor              Show the sensor that is being used.
run-config-script       Execute a group of ipipe-client commands.
set-previewer-mode      Configure previewer on continuous or one-shot mode.
set-bayer-pattern       Sets R/Gr/Gb/B color pattern to the previewer.
set-digital-gain        Sets red (R), green (G) and blue gains (G) on the ipipe.
get-digital-gain        Returns the gain value for each color component(RGB).
set-luminance           Brightness(Br) and contrast(C) adjustment.
get-luminance           Returns the value of the Brightness(Br) and contrast(C) adjustment.
flip-vertical           Flips the image vertically(on the sensor).
flip-horizontal         Flips the image horizontally (on the sensor).
set-exposure            Sets the effective shutter time  of the sensor for the light integration.
get-exposure            Gets the exposure time of the sensor in us.
set-sensor-gain         Sets red(R), green(G) and blue(B) gain directly on the sensor.
get-sensor-gain         Gets sensor red(R), green(G) and blue(B).

If you want more detailed information about a command execute:

ipipe-client help <command> 

Running Librraew

Auto exposure and auto white balance adjustments can be started with an ipipe-client's command called init-aew. Init-aew requires some arguments to define the algorithms and other parameters. To see the arguments required you can request for help that show you the list as follows:

Command: init-aew
Syntax: init-aew <WB> <AE> <G> <EM> <T[us]> <fps> <seg> <width> <height>
Description: Initialize AEW algorithms                                  
        WB: white balance algorithm, the options are:                   
                G -for gray world algorithm                             
                W -for retinex algorithm                                
                N -for none                                             
        AE: auto exposure algorithm, the options are                    
                EC -for electronic centric                              
                N -for none                                             
        G: gain type, the options are:                                  
                S -to use the sensor gain                               
                D -to use the digital
        EM: exposure metering method, the options are:
                S -for spot metering that take into account the light
                information of a small portion in the center of the
                frame and the rest is ignored
                P -for partial metering that take into account the
                light information of a larger portion in the center
                of the frame (10% - 15%) and the rest of the frame is ignored.
                C -for center weighted metering that take into account
                the light information coming from the entire frame with
                emphasis placed on the center area
                A -for average metering that take into account the light
                information from the entire frame without weighting
                SG -for segmented metering that divides the frame
                on 6 pieces and weighting them to avoid backlighting
        T: wait time in us, specifies the time between
                algorithm adjustments, max value=1s=1000000us
        fps: minimum frame rate
        seg: frame segmentation factor, each frame is segmented into
                regions, this factor represents the percentage of the
                maximum number of possible regions
        width: captured video/image horizontal size
        height: captured video/image vertical size

Also you can stop automatic adjustments with the command stop-aew

Some of the init-aew arguments need to be explained in more detail:

  • WB: as you see above this parameter indicates the AWB algorithm you want to use.
    • The Gray World algorithm is based on the assumption that given an image with sufficient amount of color variation, the average reflectance of the scene is achromatic(gray). If the scene has a color that dominates, the results of the algorithm may not be satisfactory.
    • The White Patch algorithm assumes that the maximum response in an image is caused by a perfect reflector, so represents the color of the illumination. This algorithm can be used on images without saturated pixels.
  • AE: indicates the AE algorithm, for the moment there is only one algorithm: Electronic centric(EC). This algorithm uses the user defined metering system to get the scene illumination and tries to approach the brightness level to the mid-tone of intensity.
  • EM: this parameter defines the brightness metering system that is going to be used for the auto exposure algorithm.
    • S: Averages the light information of a small portion in the center of the frame (1% - 5% of the entire image) the rest of the frame is ignored. This system is good for scenes that have a principal object and you are only interested on it, you don't care the background, even more on very high contrast scenes
    • P: Average the light information of a larger portion in the center of the frame (10% - 15% of the entire image) the rest of the frame is ignored. It is generally used when very bright or very dark areas on the edges of the frame would otherwise influence on a bad way the scene illumination.
    • C: Average the light information coming from the entire frame with emphasis placed on the center area. This algorithm can be used when you want that the whole scene be well illuminated and not be affected for the small edges brightness variations. The subjects of the picture must be at the center of the image. But, if a backlight is present into the scene the central part results darker than the rest of the scene and unpleasant underexposed foreground is produced.
    • A: Average the light information coming from the entire frame without weighting any particular portion of the metered area. This algorithm can be used on scenes that not have a principal object and you want an average illumination. If the scene has a high contrast, the algorithm cause under or over exposure of parts of the scene.
    • SG: This algorithm is designed for scenes that have a principal object in backlighting condition. Emphasize the luminance of the main object according to the degree of backlighting. Divides the frame on 6 pieces and weighting them.
  • T: the time between interactions defines how fast the algorithm can adjust the scene parameters. If you don't need fast changes you can use a greater time to get less CPU usage.
  • seg: this factor is related with the amount of CPU usage and the auto-adjustments precision. If you use a high segmentation percentage you will have greater CPU usage but you will get more precision on the adjustments.