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# Sum of absolute differences

"Sum of Absolute Differences" "(SAD)" is a widely used, extremely simple video quality metric used for block-matching in motion estimation for video compression. It works by taking the absolute value of the difference between each pixel in the original block and the corresponding pixel in the block being used for comparison. These differences are summed to create a simple metric of block similarity, the "L"1 norm of the difference image.

Comparison to other metrics

SAD is an extremely fast metric due to its simplicity; it is effectively the simplest possible metric that takes into account every pixel in a block. Therefore it is very effective for a wide motion search of many different blocks. SAD is also easily parallelizable since it analyzes each pixel separately, making it easily implementable with such instructions as MMX and SSE2. For example, SSE has packed sum of absolute differences instruction (PSADBW) specifically for this purpose. Once candidate blocks are found, the final refinement of the motion estimation process is often done with other slower but more accurate metrics, which better take into account human perception. These include the sum of absolute transformed differences (SATD), the sum of squared differences (SSD), and rate-distortion optimization.

ee also

*Motion compensation
*Motion estimation
*Rate-distortion optimization

References

*cite book | last = E. G. Richardson | first = Iain | title = H.264 and MPEG-4 Video Compression: Video Coding for Next-generation Multimedia | publisher = John Wiley & Sons Ltd. | date = 2003 | location = Chichester

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