In many actual applications, fused image is essential to contain high-quality details for achieving a comprehensive representation of the real scene. However, existing image fusion methods suffer from loss of details because of the error accumulations of sequential tasks. This paper proposes a novel fusion method to preserve details of infrared and visible images by combining new decomposition, feature extraction, and fusion scheme. For decomposition, different from the most decomposition methods by guided filter, the guidance image contains only the strong edge of the source image but no other interference information so that rich tiny details can be decomposed into the detailed part. Then, according to the different characteristics of infrared and visible detail parts, a rough convolutional neural network (CNN) and a sophisticated CNN are designed so that various features can be fully extracted. To integrate the extracted features, we also present a multi-layer features fusion strategy through discrete cosine transform (DCT), which not only highlights significant features but also enhances details. Moreover, the base parts are fused by weighting method. Finally, the fused image is obtained by adding the fused detail and base part. Different from the general image fusion methods, our method not only retains the target region of source image but also enhances background in the fused image. In addition, compared with state-of-the-art fusion methods, our proposed fusion method has many advantages, including (i) better visual quality of fused-image subjective evaluation, and (ii) better objective assessment for those images.
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