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Robust DFT watermarking method with gray component replacement masking

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The demand for security of shared digital and printed images is increasing year after year. There is a need for a robust watermarking scheme capable of offering high detection rates for very aggressive attacks, such as a print-scan process. However, high robustness of the watermark method usually leads to perceptible visual artifacts. Therefore, in this paper, a novel DFT watermarking method with gray component replacement (GCR) masking is proposed. The watermark is additively embedded in the magnitude coefficients of the image within the Fourier domain and then masked using GCR masking to hide the artifacts introduced by embedding. Experimental results show that GCR masking is capable of completely hiding introduced artifacts and increase the visual quality of the watermarked image using both objective and subjective measures. It also outperforms similar state-of-the-art methods with respect to robustness against image attacks. The method is especially suited for printing since the watermark is hidden in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum but is detectable in the infra-red (IR) part of the spectrum using an IR-sensitive camera sensor.

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This research is a part of the projects DOK-2018-09-7543 and UIP-2017-05-4081, Development of the model for production efficiency increase and functionality of packaging, supported by Croatian Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Ante Poljicak.

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Poljicak, A., Donevski, D., Jelusic, P.B. et al. Robust DFT watermarking method with gray component replacement masking. Multimed Tools Appl 81, 30365–30386 (2022).

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