JP5287272B2 - Image inspection apparatus, image inspection method, and program - Google Patents

Image inspection apparatus, image inspection method, and program Download PDF

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JP5287272B2
JP5287272B2 JP2009004557A JP2009004557A JP5287272B2 JP 5287272 B2 JP5287272 B2 JP 5287272B2 JP 2009004557 A JP2009004557 A JP 2009004557A JP 2009004557 A JP2009004557 A JP 2009004557A JP 5287272 B2 JP5287272 B2 JP 5287272B2
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inspection
edge
image data
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JP2010165011A (en
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愼二 山川
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株式会社リコー
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  The present invention relates to an image inspection apparatus that inspects an output image of a printing apparatus (for example, a printer, a multifunction peripheral: MFP, etc.) that outputs an image to a paper medium using image data, and more particularly, to a printing apparatus to be inspected. An image inspection apparatus, an image inspection method, and an image inspection apparatus for inspecting an image shift of an output (printed material) performed based on inspection image data based on a feature amount extracted in an inspection region determined by reference edge data of the inspection image data The present invention relates to a program for causing a computer to perform the image inspection method.

2. Description of the Related Art Today, printing apparatuses that output electronic data documents (images) on paper media (hereinafter referred to as “paper output”) are widely used as printers and multifunction peripherals (MFPs).
With this type of printing apparatus, even if the image data used for printing is the same, the quality of the image output on paper varies depending on the device characteristics of the printing apparatus. For example, in the printing of a color image, a method of superposing three colors of C, M, and Y (C: cyan, M: magenta, Y: yellow) or four color components obtained by adding Br (black) to this is generally used. A method of creating a plate independently for each component is adopted. In this method, it is inevitable that variations occur in the characteristics of the image forming unit for each color component, one of which is a printing position shift that occurs between plates, which is called plate shift. Misregistration is one of the factors that greatly affect the deterioration of color image quality.

The inspection of misregistration and the detection of the misregistration amount are conventionally performed in order to adjust misregistration, and can be described in, for example, the following Patent Documents 1 to 4.
In Patent Document 1, each of an edge component image of base image data and an edge component image obtained by normalizing all frequency components of an image obtained by reading paper (print shift detection target) printed using the base image data is disclosed. A method of detecting misregistration by extracting a deviation vector from data is shown.
Patent Document 2 discloses a method for correcting a shift by forming a shift pattern for each color on a transfer belt and calculating a shift amount by detecting the position of the pattern with a sensor. Yes.

Further, in Patent Document 3, an image of a predetermined region (a position is defined by coordinates) of a reference print is defined as a reference image, and the position of the image on the inspection target is determined by pattern matching with the reference image with respect to the inspection target print. It is shown that a shift is detected from the image positions of both printed materials and used for correcting the shift.
Patent Document 4 discloses that a registration mark used for detecting a misregistration of a printing plate is printed on a printing surface and is detected and adjusted.

Patent Documents 1 to 4 are all methods of detecting a printing position shift based on image data read from paper output from a printing apparatus to be adjusted and controlled, and using the detection result as data for adjustment and control. .
However, in Patent Documents 2 and 4, it is necessary to prepare correction patterns, registration marks and other data for detection of misalignment, and to create test patterns in addition to normal printing.
This problem can be solved by the methods described in Patent Documents 1 and 3 that do not require a special pattern to be generated for the displacement inspection. However, Patent Document 1 performs a process of extracting edge component image data obtained by normalizing all frequency components in order to prevent a halftone dot image from having a peak, and the process becomes complicated. Processing burden is heavy. Further, this processing method has a property that it is not suitable for detecting a local displacement. Further, according to the pattern matching method of Patent Document 3, it is difficult to determine a reference image for obtaining stable inspection accuracy depending on an inspection object, and the burden of pattern matching processing is not small.

  The present invention has been made in view of the above-described problems of the prior art, and the problem to be solved is to obtain a positional deviation of a paper output image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected, and to determine the obtained positional deviation in advance. When judging according to the acceptance criteria, the data processing is simple and processing load can be reduced without causing the printing device to perform any special operation, and it can be applied to local misalignment detection with high accuracy. There is to keep.

According to the present invention, an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on inspection image data as a reference is read by a document reading unit, and the read image data value is compared with a reference value. An image inspection apparatus having an acceptance / rejection determination unit for determining a document, a document reading unit that reads a document and outputs document image data, a storage unit for the inspection image data, and a reference edge from the inspection image data of the storage unit A reference edge extracting unit for extracting the image, an inspection image region determining unit for determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the extracted reference edge as an inspection image region, and a printing apparatus to be inspected based on the inspection image data The created inspection document image is read by the document reading unit, and is determined by the inspection image region determination unit in the output image data. A feature amount extracting section which extracts a feature from査image region, anda determining acceptance determination means for acceptance of the test document image based on the feature quantity extracted by the feature extraction means, the feature amount extracting means The edge is extracted from the inspection image area, and the pass / fail determination means has a predetermined value of a deviation between the edge image data extracted by the feature amount extraction means and the corresponding reference edge image data value of the inspection image data. It is characterized in that pass / fail is determined by whether or not it is within the range .
According to the present invention, an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on inspection image data as a reference is read by a document reading unit, and the read image data value is compared with a reference value. An image inspection apparatus having an acceptance / rejection determination unit for determining a document, a document reading unit that reads a document and outputs document image data, a storage unit for the inspection image data, and a reference edge from the inspection image data of the storage unit A reference edge extracting unit for extracting the image, an inspection image region determining unit for determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the extracted reference edge as an inspection image region, and a printing apparatus to be inspected based on the inspection image data The created inspection document image is read by the document reading unit, and is determined by the inspection image region determination unit in the output image data. A feature amount extraction unit that extracts a feature amount from the inspection image region; and a pass / fail determination unit that determines pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature amount extracted by the feature amount extraction unit. The edge generated by the high density image other than black is extracted, the feature amount extraction unit extracts the edge from the inspection image region, and the pass / fail judgment unit extracts the edge image data extracted by the feature amount extraction unit An image inspection apparatus, wherein pass / fail is determined based on whether or not a deviation between values of colors is within a predetermined range of values.
According to the present invention, an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on inspection image data as a reference is read by a document reading unit, and the read image data value is compared with a reference value. An image inspection method in an image inspection apparatus having an acceptance / rejection determination unit for determining a document, reading a document and outputting document image data, storing the inspection image data in a storage unit, and the storage unit A reference edge extraction step of extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data, an inspection image region determination step of determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the reference edge extracted in the reference edge extraction step as the inspection image region, the test document images created by the inspection target of the printing apparatus based on the test image data read by said original reading means, image de-output A feature amount extraction step for extracting a feature amount from the inspection image region determined in the inspection image region determination step, and a pass / fail determination step for determining pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature amount extracted in the feature amount extraction step. In the feature amount extraction step, an edge is extracted from the inspection image region, and in the pass / fail determination step, the edge image data extracted in the feature amount extraction step and the corresponding reference edge of the inspection image data Whether or not the image data value is within a predetermined value range is determined as to whether or not the image data value is within a predetermined range .
According to the present invention, an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on inspection image data as a reference is read by a document reading unit, and the read image data value is compared with a reference value. An image inspection method in an image inspection apparatus having an acceptance / rejection determination unit for determining a document, reading a document and outputting document image data, storing the inspection image data in a storage unit, and the storage unit A reference edge extraction step of extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data, an inspection image region determination step of determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the extracted reference edge as an inspection image region, and the inspection image data The inspection document image read out by the original reading unit, which is originally created by the printing apparatus to be inspected, is output in the image data. A feature amount extraction step for extracting a feature amount from the inspection image region determined in the image region determination step, and a pass / fail determination step for determining pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature amount extracted in the feature amount extraction step. In the reference edge extraction step, an edge generated by a high-density image other than black is extracted. In the feature amount extraction step, an edge is extracted from an inspection image region. In the pass / fail determination step, the feature amount is extracted. It is characterized in that pass / fail is determined based on whether or not the deviation between the colors of the edge image data values extracted in the process is within a predetermined value range .
According to the present invention, in the image inspection method according to claim 12 or 13, a step of storing the inspection image data in a storage unit, and a reference edge extraction step of extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data of the storage unit And an inspection image region determination step for determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the reference edge extracted in the reference edge extraction step as an inspection image region, and a printing device to be inspected based on the inspection image data. The inspection document image is read by the document reading means, and the feature amount extraction step for extracting the feature amount from the inspection image region determined in the inspection image region determination step in the output image data, and the feature amount extraction step A program for causing a computer to perform a pass / fail determination step for determining pass / fail of an inspection document image based on the feature amount

  According to the present invention, an area surrounding a specific edge in inspection image data is determined as an inspection image area, and an inspection document is generated based on feature amounts (edge image color, image shift) generated in the paper output of the printing apparatus in the determined area. By the method of determining pass / fail of the image, the data processing is simple, the processing load can be reduced, it can be applied to the detection of localized misalignment, the detection accuracy can be kept high, and the printing device to be inspected Since no special operation is performed, the printing operation can be continued and the output performance can be improved.

1 is a diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of an image inspection system including an image inspection apparatus and an inspection target printing apparatus (MFP) according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an internal configuration of a scanner correction unit in the MFP of FIG. 1. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an internal configuration of a printer correction unit in the MFP of FIG. 1. FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing an example of a related configuration of image data input / output operations with respect to a network in a controller in the MFP of FIG. 1. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an internal configuration of a scanner correction unit in the image inspection apparatus in FIG. 1. 2 is a block diagram showing an example of a related configuration of input / output operations such as inspection data for an external machine (MFP) in the controller of the image inspection apparatus of FIG. It is a figure which shows the structure of the image test | inspection function (Embodiment 1) which the controller in the image test | inspection apparatus of FIG. 1 has. FIG. 2 is a flowchart of image inspection processing (first embodiment) executed by a controller in the image inspection apparatus of FIG. 1. It is a block diagram which shows an example of a structure of the image area separation part which extracts a character edge area | region. It is a conceptual diagram explaining the drawing state on which each color component which comprises a black pixel was piled up. It is a figure which shows an example of a character edge image. FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating a configuration of an image inspection function (second embodiment) of a controller in the image inspection apparatus of FIG. 1. FIG. 10 is a flowchart of image inspection processing (second embodiment) executed by a controller in the image inspection apparatus of FIG. 1. It is a conceptual diagram explaining the Example of the position shift inspection method based on a horizontal / vertical edge image.

Embodiments of an image inspection apparatus and an image inspection method according to the present invention will be described below with reference to the accompanying drawings. Here, a mode in which a printing apparatus to be inspected is a multifunction peripheral (MFP) will be described.
An MFP as a printing apparatus to be inspected has a document box function that uses a stored image for re-output, in addition to a copying function, a facsimile function, a printer function, a scanner function, and the like.
The MFP of the present embodiment is an apparatus that can output color printing.
Further, in this MFP, if a paper document is a source, an image processed using the above composite function is input by reading an image on the document surface with a scanner, and a PC (Personal computer), facsimile For data held by an external device such as a device (hereinafter referred to as “FAX”) or an external storage device, data is input in the form of print data or an image file via a communication / connection I / F (interface). In any case, the input data is processed into general-purpose image data that can be applied to various outputs such as plotter output performed using a composite function and data transmission to an external device.

In this embodiment, an object to be inspected is an image output on paper (recording paper) by a plotter (printing apparatus) based on the general-purpose image data. Since the output images have different device characteristics, even if printing is performed based on the same image data, the created image is not uniform, and sometimes the characteristics vary depending on the quality of the image. Reduce. Here, the deviation of the paper output image of the printing apparatus to be inspected, that is, the deviation of the image data value from the original image as the paper output by the original image data (reference inspection image data) is inspected. For the purpose.
One of the image data value deviations is an image deviation that occurs between plates called color misregistration in color printing performed by adopting a method of creating a plate independently for each color component. Is an image shift that occurs even in monochrome printing, and is a shift with respect to a position on an image (printing paper) surface that should originally be a paper output.

In the inspection method, paper is output by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on reference inspection image data, and the result of comparison with the misregistration data or inspection image data generated in the inspection original image data itself generated from the paper output is obtained. It is determined as a data value, it is determined whether or not the determined data value is within a predetermined range, an inspection pass / fail signal is issued based on the determination result, and the determination result is deemed necessary / unnecessary for adjustment of the printing apparatus to be inspected The basic method is to issue a signal instructing that necessary adjustments be made.
The characteristic points of the inspection method in the present embodiment are as follows. First, extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data; second, determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the extracted reference edge as an inspection image region; The edge of the region determined as the inspection image region is extracted from the inspection document image data, and the misregistration data obtained from the extracted edge image data or the image data between the extracted edge image data and the corresponding reference edge of the inspection image data It is to obtain a deviation and make it a target of pass / fail determination.

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of an image inspection system including an image inspection apparatus according to the present embodiment and an MFP to be inspected. It should be noted that the printing apparatus and the MFP shown in FIG. 1 mainly show the configuration of the data processing system.
"Overview of MFP"
An MFP 100 to be inspected shown in FIG. 1 receives a data input that can be converted into an image from an external machine such as a PC (Personal computer) 16 or the like via an NIC (Network Interface Controller) 12 by reading a document image with the scanner 1. The input image is processed by the plotter 9 as data used for image output. The data input from the external device includes print data created by a printer driver of the PC 16, received data from a facsimile (not shown), an image file stored in an external storage medium, and the like.
In the data processing system of the MFP, input images can be stored in storage means such as a large-capacity HDD (Hard Disk Drive) 5 so that the stored data can be reused for print output or data output (transmission) to an external device. I have to.

In FIG. 1, a scanner 1 includes a line sensor composed of a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) photoelectric conversion element, an A / D converter, and a drive circuit thereof. The scanner 1 scans a set document RGB (RGB). RGB digital 8-bit digital image data (600 dpi) is generated and output from the light and shade information of R: RED, G: GREEN, B: BLUE) components.
The scanner correction unit 2 performs a process for unifying the digital image data from the scanner 1 to a predetermined characteristic and outputs it (see the description of FIG. 2 described later). Since the image data read and input by the scanner depends on the device characteristics of the scanner, this processing suppresses or eliminates signal components depending on the device, and performs processing to normalize the image data, After being converted into general-purpose data that can be used for output, it is stored in the HDD 5 to be described later.
When the data is stored in the HDD 5, the compression processing unit 3 can efficiently handle the data by performing data compression as necessary.

When the compressed data stored in the HDD 5 is used for image output by the plotter 9, the decompressed processing unit 7 restores the compressed image data via the controller 6.
Data processing used for image output by the plotter 9 is processed by the printer correction unit 8 after the decompression processing unit 7 restores the compressed data. At this time, the data received by the NIC 12 or the like is also processed into general-purpose image data via the controller 6 and then the output data processing similar to the accumulated image data is performed. The printer correction unit 8 performs image adjustment and processing according to an instruction from the user on the target image data. The printer correction unit 8 will be described in detail later with reference to FIG.
An HDD (Hard Disk Drive) 5 is a large-capacity storage device for storing digital image data and image management information such as bibliographic information attached to the digital image data. In this embodiment, a device other than the HDD can be selected as the large-capacity storage device, and a silicon disk using a flash memory whose capacity has been increasing in recent years is also applicable. In that case, improvement of the power consumption and access speed can be expected.

The controller 6 is a control unit that controls the entire data processing system of the MFP 100, and includes a CPU (Central Processing Unit) that operates software (program) therein, a ROM (Read Only Memory) that stores programs, and a program when operating programs A RAM (Random Access Memory) used as a work memory is included as a hardware component.
In the program stored in the ROM, the image output of the plotter 9 performed in response to a print request to the MFP 100, which will be described later, and data used for inspection by the image inspection apparatus 200 (reference edge, inspection image region, etc., described later) are included in the inspection. By recording (storing) a program for executing an operation to be output in response to a request from the apparatus, the CPU functions as a control means for this operation.

Next, an output operation of the MFP 100 will be described focusing on a portion related to the image inspection apparatus 200 described later.
“Copy operation”
When performing image output from the plotter 9 using the copying function, the scanner 1 reads image data from the document 50, converts the read image data (analog signal) into digital data (600 dpi), and outputs the digital data. The digital image data from the scanner 1 is converted and corrected by the scanner correction unit 2 into general-purpose data that can be used for various outputs including copying.
FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an example of the internal configuration of the scanner correction unit 2.
As shown in the figure, the scanner correction unit 2 uses the image area separation unit 21 for the image data img (reflectance linear) input from the scanner 1 to perform black character edge region, color edge character region, and other (photo region) 3. The pixels constituting the image are separated into two pixel areas. The process for separating the image area is, for example, by adopting a method disclosed in Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2003-259115 (see FIG. 9), so that a black edge character area and a color edge are used as image area separation signals in image data. Either a character area or photo area signal is given to each pixel.

The scanner γ unit 22 converts image data from reflectance linear to density linear data.
In the filter processing unit 23, the filter processing is switched by the image region separation signal obtained by the image region separation unit 21 to maintain the characteristics of the original image. That is, sharpening processing is performed with emphasis on legibility in the character areas of black edge characters and color edge characters. In the photographic region, a sharp density change in the image data is used as an edge amount, and smoothing processing or sharpening processing is performed according to the edge amount. The sharp edges are sharpened to make the characters in the picture easier to read.
The color correction processing unit 24 converts R, G, and B data into C, M, and Y data by the primary density masking method or the like except for the black edge character region. In order to improve the color reproduction of image data, a common portion of C, M, Y (C: cyan, M: magenta, Y: yellow) data is subjected to UCR (addition removal) processing to obtain Bk (Bk: black) data. And outputs C, M, Y, and Bk data. Here, in the black edge character area, if the black character of the original is colored due to the RGB reading position deviation of the scanner 1 or if the YMCBk is printed in the plotter 9 and there is a misalignment, the legibility is not good. The corresponding signal is output as Bk single color data.
In the character γ portion 25, in order to improve the contrast of the character portion, γ is raised for the color character and the black character.

Returning to FIG. 1, the compression processing unit 3 compresses each 8-bit image data of YMCBk after the processing of the scanner correction unit 2, and sends the data to the general-purpose bus.
The compressed image data is sent to the controller 6 through the general-purpose bus. The controller 6 has a semiconductor memory (not shown) and accumulates transmitted data.
In this embodiment, data such as a reference edge and an inspection image area used for an image inspection performed by the image inspection apparatus 200 described later is supplied to the apparatus by the operation of the controller 6. These data used for the image inspection are extracted and generated from the inspection image data. When the scanner input image is used as the inspection image data, the controller 6 designates the designated image of the scanner input image stored in the semiconductor memory. As an inspection image, a reference edge (coordinate value) is extracted from the inspection image data as described later with reference to FIGS. 7 and 8 or FIGS. Inspection image area data (described in detail later) determined based on the reference edge is transmitted to the controller 26 on the image inspection apparatus 200 side. Note that the MFP 100 may take a method of processing data such as a reference edge and an inspection image area on the image inspection apparatus 200 side only by transmitting inspection image data. When standard RGB data is applied as inspection image data used for data processing such as reference edges and inspection image areas, the color correction processing unit 24 performs this color conversion separately, and extracts the areas. To be used.
In this embodiment, scanner input images stored in a semiconductor memory (not shown) are stored in the HDD 5 so that they can be reused. Although the input image data is compressed here, the data may be handled in an uncompressed state if the bandwidth of the general-purpose bus is sufficiently wide and the capacity of the HDD 5 to be stored is large.

Next, in order to output an image from the plotter 9, the controller 6 sends the scanner input image stored in the HDD 5 to the expansion processing unit 7 via the general-purpose bus. The decompression processing unit 7 decompresses the compressed image data to the original 8-bit data of each YMCBk and sends it to the printer correction unit 8. The printer correction unit 8 converts and corrects YMCBk independently as image data used for image output by the plotter 9.
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an example of the internal configuration of the printer correction unit 22.
As shown in the figure, the printer correction unit 22 includes a printer γ unit 81 that performs γ correction on the image data that has undergone the expansion processing unit 7 in accordance with the frequency characteristics of the plotter 9, a dither process, an error diffusion process, and the like. A halftone processing unit 82 for performing gradation correction and gradation correction, and an edge amount detection unit 84 for detecting a steep density change in the image data as an edge amount.
The printer γ unit 81 performs γ conversion according to the γ characteristics set to standardize the plotter output according to the frequency characteristics of the plotter 9.
The halftone processing unit 82 converts the image data from 8 bits to 2 bits for each color using error diffusion and dither processing according to the gradation characteristics and edge amount of the plotter. When performing this quantization processing, it is also possible to perform black character extraction processing based on the detection amount of the edge amount detection unit 84 and enhance the contrast of the black character with the extracted black character signal. By adding this processing, the legibility of the characters is improved.

The image data processed by the printer correction unit 8 as image data used for image output by the plotter 9 is sent to the plotter 9.
The plotter 9 is a transfer paper printing unit using a laser beam writing process. The plotter 9 uses the 2-bit image data received from the printer correction unit 8 for writing, draws a latent image on the photosensitive member, and performs image formation / transfer processing with toner. Thereafter, a copy image is formed on the transfer paper, and the copying operation is finished.

“Printer operation”
When outputting an image from the plotter 9 using the printer function from the PC 16 via the network, the controller 6 analyzes a command for instructing an image and printing from the data received via the NIC 12, and according to the analysis result, Image data that has been bitmap-developed so as to be printable is generated.
FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating a configuration related to input / output processing of image data with respect to the network in the controller 6.
As shown in the figure, the controller 6 includes a CPU 61, a compression / decompression processing unit 62, a page memory 63, an output format conversion unit 65, an input format conversion unit 66, and a data I / F unit 68.

The controller 6 accepts an image received from an external device such as the PC 16 and a command instructing printing as data that can be used for image output. At this time, the data I / F unit 68 analyzes the command indicated in the data received by the NIC 12, generates RGB image data represented in a general-purpose image format in JPEG or TIFF format according to the analysis result, and outputs an image in this format. The data is output to the input format conversion unit 66. The input format conversion unit 66 performs color conversion of RGB data to CMYBk data, and at the same time, returns the original 8-bit data of each color from the JPEG or TIFF format, and develops and writes it in the page memory 63.
When the YMCBk image expanded in the page memory 63 is used for image output from the plotter 9, the YMCBk image expanded in the page memory 63 is stored in the HDD 5, and the data stored in the HDD 5 is read and used for plotter output. In the case of this output process, the image data is compressed by the compression / decompression processing unit 62 before being stored in the HDD 5 and is output to the HDD 5. However, when the YMCBk image developed in the page memory 63 is used directly for image output from the plotter 9, the image data is output as image data img from the page memory 63 to the general-purpose bus, and image processing for plotter output described later is performed. To be used for print output.

  When the compressed image data read from the HDD 5 or input from the general-purpose bus is transmitted to an external device such as the PC 16, the transmission data is decompressed by the compression / decompression processing unit 62. The image data is returned to 8-bit data for each color, expanded in the page memory 63, and the image data is output to the output format conversion unit 65. The output format conversion unit 65 performs color conversion of C, M, Y, Bk data to RGB data, and at the same time performs data conversion to a general-purpose image format such as JPEG or TIFF format. The data I / F unit 68 processes the data received from the output format conversion unit as data that can be handled by the NIC 12 and outputs the data to the NIC 12.

As described above, the controller 6 performs conversion into YMCBk data that can be used for plotter output in the processing process of image data that is input via the network and stored in the HDD 5. That is, the YMCBk data stored in the HDD 5 and the image processing process for plotter output (processing by the expansion processing unit 7 and the printer correction unit 8) for generating image data for output are basically performed by the scanner input in the copying operation. This is the same as in the processing of image data used for image plotter output. For details of this processing process, refer to the description of the previous copying operation.
When an image input via a network is used as inspection image data used for an image inspection performed by the image inspection apparatus 200 described later, the controller 6 uses the inspection image data as in the scanner input image. A reference edge (coordinate value) is extracted (details will be described later), and data such as the extracted reference edge and inspection image region data (details will be described later) are transmitted to the controller 26 on the image inspection apparatus 200 side.

"Image inspection device"
The image inspection apparatus 200 uses an image output (plotter output) on paper based on the reference image data by the printing apparatus to be inspected (in this case, the MFP 100) as an inspection original, converts this into image data, and this inspection original image Based on the data value representing the image displacement obtained by comparing the plate displacement data or inspection document image data generated in the data with the reference image data (actually comparing the edge image data or the edge image position data as will be described later). Based on the process for determining pass / fail, the first to third feature points described above are used as elements.
Therefore, as shown in the schematic configuration of FIG. 1, the image inspection apparatus 200 according to this embodiment includes a scanner 21 that reads an image from paper output, a scanner correction unit 22 that processes read data of the scanner into general-purpose image data, and a process The inspection document generated by the compression processing unit 23 used when accumulating the general-purpose image data and the image inspection apparatus 200 as a whole and the document image input process (the process of the scanner 21 and the scanner correction unit 22). A controller 26 that also functions as a means for determining pass / fail based on a data value representing an image shift obtained by comparing plate misregistration data or inspection document image data generated in image data with reference image data, and an object to be processed in image inspection And an HDD 25 for storing image data, data for determination, and the like.

Incidentally, reference edge image data, which will be described later, to be compared with the output of the inspection document and the inspection document image data is a special image (for example, a so-called “register mark” test image pattern as in the conventional method) in this embodiment. ) Can be used by using an arbitrary image.
However, the image data determined as the inspection image data is used for paper output of the inspection document, extraction of the reference edge, and determination of the inspection image area (detailed later). For this reason, here, the data determined as the inspection image data is stored in the HDD 5 in the MFP 100.

Further, the inspection image area used for the image inspection is determined based on the inspection image data (described in detail later). In this embodiment, the area data determined and determined on the MFP 100 side storing the inspection image data is determined. Is provided to the image inspection apparatus 200.
The controller 26 of the image inspection apparatus 200 has communication means for receiving inspection image area data provided from the MFP 100. Here, the controller 26 exchanges this data with a communication means provided between the controller 100 of the MFP 100. In this embodiment, an example in which the inspection image area is determined on the MFP 100 side is shown. However, a configuration in which the inspection image area is determined on the image inspection apparatus 200 side may be adopted. The MFP 100 that holds the image data for transmission needs to transmit the image data for inspection to the image inspection apparatus 200.

The controller 26 is a control unit that controls the entire data processing system of the image inspection apparatus 200, and includes a CPU that operates software (program), a ROM that stores programs, and a RAM that is used as a work memory when operating programs. Etc. as hardware components.
In the program stored in the ROM, the inspection is performed in response to a request for image inspection processing to the image inspection apparatus 200 to be described later, the generation of image data for each reference, and the processing by the image inspection function (the processing flow of FIG. 8 or FIG. 13). The CPU functions as a control means for these processes by recording (storing) a program for executing the program. The medium for recording the program is not limited to ROM, and various storage media including disk types such as HDD, CD (Compact Disk) -ROM, and MO (Magnet Optical Disk) can be used.

Next, the operation of the image inspection apparatus 200 having the above configuration will be described.
In this embodiment, there are two types of image misalignment of the inspection document image with respect to the reference image to be inspected. One is a misregistration generated between a plurality of color plates created when forming a color image. Is a deviation with respect to a position on an image (printing paper) surface that should originally be a paper output, which also occurs in monochrome printing. Since these inspection methods have different points, the following description will be divided into <Embodiment 1> and <Embodiment 2>, respectively.

<Embodiment 1>
In this embodiment, plate misregistration occurring between a plurality of color plates created when forming a color image is inspected.
“Input processing of original image”
After the paper output is performed based on the inspection image data in the MFP 100, the scanner 21 reads an image using the paper output image 70 as a document, converts the read analog RGB image signal into digital image data, and a scanner correction unit. 22 to output.
As shown in a block diagram of an example of the internal configuration in FIG. 5, the scanner correction unit 22 uses the scanner γ unit 22g to convert the image data into reflectance linearity with respect to the image data img (reflection reflectance linear) input from the scanner 21. To density linear data. The filter processing unit 22f performs a sharpening process to align individual differences in the MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) of the scanner, aligns the variations of each scanner, and maintains the characteristics of the original image. The color correction processing unit 22c converts the RGB data received from the previous stage into standard RGB data. Converting to standard data facilitates image inspection.

The compression processing unit 23 compresses the RGB 8-bit image data from the scanner correction unit 22 and sends the data to the general-purpose bus. The compressed image data is sent to the controller 26 through the general-purpose bus.
The controller 26 has a semiconductor memory (not shown) and accumulates sent data.
In the present embodiment, the scanner input image stored in the semiconductor memory is stored in the HDD 25 as reference document image data and inspection image data so that it can be used for image inspection processing. Although the input image data is compressed here, the data may be handled in an uncompressed state if the bandwidth of the general-purpose bus is sufficiently wide and the capacity of the HDD 25 to be stored is large.

The controller 26 receives inspection data (reference edge image data and inspection image area data described later) transmitted from an external device (MFP 100 in this embodiment), and transmits a result of image inspection to the external device.
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing a configuration related to data input / output of data for inspection to the external device (MFP 100) in the controller 26. As shown in FIG.
As shown in the figure, the controller 26 includes a CPU 26p, a compression / decompression processing unit 26d, and a page memory 26m.
The controller 26 exchanges data with an external device to be inspected and an external device that uses the inspection result. In this embodiment, the external device to be inspected and the external device using the inspection result are assumed to be the MFP 100, and the controller 26 receives inspection data and transmits data indicating the image inspection result to the MFP 100. I do.

  Further, the controller 26 accumulates image data img (inspection image data) generated through the scanner input and sent via the general-purpose bus in the HDD 25, and reads and compresses it from the accumulation destination HDD 25 in the subsequent image inspection processing. The decompression processing unit 26d decompresses the original 8-bit image data of each color, develops a bitmap in the page memory 26m, and provides the processing and operation. Further, there is a method for performing the above-described inspection data received from the MFP 100 (reference edge image data and inspection image area data described later), or processing for obtaining reference edge extraction and inspection image area data on the image inspection apparatus 200 side. When employed, the image data for inspection received from the MFP 100 and data relating to image inspection such as bibliographic information indicating the inspection result are processed by the CPU 26 d of the controller 26 and then stored in the HDD 25. When these data are stored in the HDD 25, the compression / decompression processing unit 26d compresses them as necessary.

“Image inspection function”
The image inspection function of this embodiment will be described in detail.
FIG. 7 is a diagram showing the configuration of the image inspection function of this embodiment.
In the figure, reference image data 81 shown as one of input images is image data to be printed (paper output). As described above, an inspection document is printed using this image data.
The reference image data 81 is a digital image, and each position and color data on the image plane is specified for each pixel. In this embodiment, an image arbitrarily determined for inspection by an operator can be used. Since the prepared reference image data 81 is data that is a source of printing, the image size may be very large. In this case, the image data is reduced to a reduced image data like display image data. For example, the original data may be subjected to digital image processing such as processing.
The other input image is inspection document image data 83. The inspection document image data 83 is output (printed) on the paper using the reference image data 81 by the printing apparatus to be inspected (MFP 100 in the present embodiment), and this output is used as the inspection document. The image data read by the image data 21 and processed by the scanner correction unit 22 is processed as standard RGB data in this embodiment.

The image inspection function includes the inspection image region determination unit 261, the inspection edge image extraction unit 263, and the pass / fail determination unit 267 as components.
The inspection image region determination unit 261 is a unit that determines the inspection image region using the reference image data 81. In this embodiment, paying attention to the edge of the reference image, an edge that satisfies a predetermined condition is specified in the reference image (described in detail later), and an area on the inspection image (represented by coordinates) determined by the position of the edge pixel. Is determined as the inspection image area. The method for extracting the edge of the reference image when determining the inspection image region will be described in detail later, but the image color and position (coordinates) of the extracted edge image are obtained by extracting the edge. Further, in the above description, the inspection image area determining unit 261 determines the inspection image area on the MFP 100 side. Therefore, the MFP 100 has this means. However, it may be implemented as processing on the image inspection apparatus 200 side.

The inspection edge image extraction unit 263 is a unit that extracts an edge image from an inspection image region (determined by the inspection image region determination unit 261) in the inspection document image data 83. By this means, the image color and position (coordinates) of the edge image in the inspection document corresponding to the edge image extracted from the reference image data 81 when determining the inspection image region are obtained from the inspection document image data.
The pass / fail determination means 267 is a means for determining pass / fail depending on whether or not the misregistration data generated in the edge image extracted from the inspection image region is within a predetermined range.
Note that the inspection image region determination unit 261, the inspection edge image extraction unit 263, and the pass / fail determination unit 267 will be further described in the examples of the processing flow described later.

“Image inspection processing flow”
Processing executed by the image inspection function (see FIG. 7) of the present embodiment will be described according to the procedure.
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing a flow of processing by the image inspection function of the present embodiment that the controller 26 has.
According to the processing flow of FIG. 8, as a procedure for determining the inspection image region, first, a region to be processed in the reference image is recognized (step S101). This process is performed by the inspection image area determination unit 261, and the process of extracting the reference edge from the reference image is performed at a later stage in order to determine the inspection image area. Is recognized and the area is determined according to the recognition result.
Since the edge suitable for the reference edge is selected from the character edge, the character area is first recognized in the reference image data 81 stored in the HDD 5 as the processing area, and the processing area is determined.

In the recognition of the character area, the character area is detected from the image data by the following method. In addition, since it is performed in order to extract the reference edge at a later stage, it is sufficient that only the edge portion of the character image can be detected here, but the entire character may be included in the region.
One of the methods for detecting a character area is a method of detecting image output by a printer function and detecting from print data input via the NIC 12, and the character attribute of the object data of PDL (Page Description Language) is set. It is used as it is and is recognized as a character area, and this area is detected (see, for example, Japanese Patent Laid-Open Nos. 2001-53970 and 2002-237958). Further, for example, when this processing is performed from bitmap image data such as a scanner input image, a circumscribed rectangle of a connected component generated by integrating pixel runs is extracted and detected as a character region (for example, The character area is detected by an image area separation method (see, for example, Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2003-259115) that separates into a black character edge area, a color character edge area, and other three areas. can do.

Here, an example of a functional configuration of the processing unit according to the image area separation method and its operation will be described with reference to FIG. Note that the input bitmap image data is output image data from the scanner in this example.
The image area separation processing unit 320 shown in FIG. 9 performs character edge detection, pattern detection, and chromatic / achromatic detection, and performs a character separation signal C / P signal (2 bits) representing a character edge area or a pattern area, and a presence / absence. A color area signal B / C signal (1 bit) representing a chromatic area / achromatic area is generated. The functional configuration of the image area separation processing unit 320 roughly includes a filter 321, an edge extraction 322, a white area extraction 323, a halftone dot extraction 324, a color determination 325, and an overall determination 326.
The filter 321 emphasizes and corrects the G image data generated by the scanner mainly for character edge extraction.

The edge extraction 322 is configured by means of ternarization 322a, black pixel continuous detection 322b, white pixel continuous detection 322c, neighboring pixel detection 322d, and isolated point removal 322e. FIG. 9 shows an example in which the G image data is referred to for edge processing as an example. However, the present invention is not limited to this example, and luminance data may be used as long as the signal expresses dark and light. It is. The character area has many high-level density pixels and low-level density pixels (hereinafter referred to as black pixels and white pixels), and these black pixels and white pixels are continuous at the edge portion. The edge extraction 322 detects edges based on the continuity of such black pixels and white pixels.
The white area extraction 323 reliably determines that the area written on the white background is a white area, and sets a dark black character periphery as a white area and a low density area as a non-white area.
The halftone dot extraction 324 determines that the halftone dot portion of the printed document is a halftone dot.
The color determination 325 detects color (chromatic) pixels and black (achromatic) pixels in the image data.

The comprehensive judgment 326 receives the result of edge extraction by the edge extraction 322, performs OR (logical sum) processing of 8 × 8 pixels, and then performs AND (logical product) processing of 3 × 3 pixels to perform expansion processing of four pixels. I do. That is, if any pixel of 8 × 8 pixels centered on the target block is the result of edge extraction, the target block is also an edge pixel, and all 3 × 3 pixels centered on the target block are If it is a character edge, the target pixel is determined as an edge, and the target block and the four pixels adjacent to the target block are regarded as the edge region.
When the result of edge extraction 322 is an edge, the result of halftone extraction 324 is no halftone, and the result of white area extraction 323 is a white area, it is determined as a character edge area. Otherwise, it is determined as a non-character edge (in the pattern or character).
As described above, the image area separation processing unit shown in FIG. 9 performs image area separation on the RGB image data from the scanner, thereby giving an image area separation signal (character edge area, color area) to the image data for each pixel. To do.
Therefore, the image area separation signal is separated into three areas: a black character edge area (character edge area and not a color area), a color character edge area (character edge area and a color area), and the other (photo area). The character edge region here is for detecting a character edge on the white ground.

Returning to the processing flow of FIG. 8, next, a character edge having a condition suitable for the reference edge is extracted from the character region detected in the previous step S101 (step S102).
The condition suitable for the reference edge is a place where the density suddenly changes from dark to white, and the area including the character edge corresponds to this condition, and based on the character edge area separation signal shown in the above image area separation example. Can determine aptitude.
However, in this misregistration inspection, the edge of the black character is not extracted even at the character edge. The black character edge is not extracted because the black character edge is printed in a single black color and is not suitable for evaluation of misregistration (see the description of the black image in FIG. 10 described later). In other words, in the case of a color region that is not a character even with a black edge, it can be used for inspection of misregistration.
As shown in the above image area separation processing example, when a separation signal is detected, an image in which a color character edge region separation signal (a character edge region and a color region) is detected is suitable. The suitability can be judged based on the signal. That is, an edge having an overlap of two or more color components is extracted from the extracted edges.

For example, when the RGB read values are converted to YMC, the density of each of the three color components of YMC is 90% or more (printed in the vicinity of the maximum density of ink) as a halftone dot area rate, and there is a halftone dot. No dot when the dot area ratio is 10% or less (almost no ink is printed).
Here, if the condition with halftone dots is greater than or equal to CMY two-color components and all three color components are either halftone dots or no halftone dots, an edge is determined. In other words, when there is no halftone dot or no halftone dot, it is not extracted as an edge because it has an intermediate density. That is, since the intermediate density is subjected to halftone processing for printing, it may be difficult to specify the position. Therefore, the colors to be actually extracted are Y + M (R), M + C (B), The four colors have color components of Y + C (G) and Y + M + C (Bk). However, since BK is actually four-color printing, Y + M + C has four color components Y + M + C + Bk in the inking process.
Here, the edges other than black characters are extracted, the edges of color characters and the edges of pictures (other than characters) in the high density portion.

Y + M + C (Bk) means a black edge that is not a black character. The black edge included here corresponds to a halftone dot having a halftone dot area ratio of 90% or more and apparently black.
Originally, if there is a color of four color component overlaps of BK, the amount of displacement can be known. However, by looking at other combinations, it is possible to inspect the misregistration using Y + M (R), M + C (B), and Y + C (G), and measure the misregistration amount even in an image having no four-component color overlap. It becomes possible.
In addition, it is possible to set an allowable range of misregistration amounts of Y + M (R), M + C (B), Y + C (G), and Y + M + C (Bk) for each color. When the shift between the color characters Y + M (R), M + C (B), and Y + C (G) is seen, it is difficult to understand even if Y is relatively shifted. Therefore, Y + M (R) and Y + C (G) are M + C (B ) The amount of misalignment can be set individually, such as by loosening the permissible amount.
Since the edge of the picture is simply seen, the misalignment is not much of a concern, but the edge of the color character is in the character part and the character is read, so it is easy to notice if there is a misalignment. This problem can be reduced by tightening the reference for edge displacement.

In the processing flow of FIG. 8, next, an inspection image area (coordinates) is determined based on the character edge extracted in the previous step S102 (step S103).
This process is a process performed by the inspection image area determination unit 261. A specific edge is specified from the extracted character edges, and an area surrounding the specified character edge is determined as an inspection image area. Here, the inspection image area is represented by coordinates.
The method for designating a specific character edge is to display the character edge extracted on the image plane of the reference image on the display of the operation panel (not shown), and the operator may select the character edge at the required location. You may employ | adopt the method extracted by.
As a method of automatic extraction, if the one-dimensional run (continuous pixels) of the edge pixels at the character edge to be selected is a run with a predetermined number of pixels or more, the center part of the run is detected as the position of the character edge that identifies the run. To do. Specifically, since the extracted edge to be selected is already data of the character boundary on the white background, the run can be recognized by counting how many edge pixels are continuous in the vertical and horizontal directions. . A plurality of runs having such conditions can be recognized, and a run having a necessary position and length is extracted as a specific character edge to be used for the inspection image region determined in this step. Note that the run extracted here serves as a so-called registration mark used in printing, and the number of consecutive runs differs depending on the accuracy of the printing apparatus and the image inspection apparatus to be inspected.

  Further, the image printed (paper output) by the MFP 100 as a printing apparatus is not necessarily printed at the same position on the paper surface, but slightly shifts, and this is read by the image inspection apparatus 200 as a document. In this case, the reading position of the scanner 21 with respect to the document is shifted. As described above, since a positional deviation occurs between the inspection image data 81 and the inspection original image data 83, the inspection area has a specified edge (run) so that the inspection area can be extracted without any problem even if the positional deviation occurs. An area of M × N size (the number of pixels) is enclosed.

Further, as a condition for determining the inspection image area, an area considering the horizontal and vertical deviation inspections of the image plane constituting the raster image can be selected. In other words, the horizontal and vertical shift components can be inspected using the vertical and horizontal lines of the character edges corresponding to the horizontal and vertical directions of the image plane.
For example, as shown in FIG. 11 showing an example of the extracted character edge image, the character “PTO” has an edge 811 in the upper part of “Ding”, and the horizontal run is continuous. This is used as a reference edge image used for the horizontal displacement inspection, and the pixel position (coordinates) of the edge is extracted in order to determine this region as the inspection image region. Further, since the edge 813 of the central portion of “Ding” has a continuous vertical run, this is used as a reference edge image used for the vertical deviation inspection, and this edge is determined in order to determine this area as the inspection image area. Pixel position (coordinates) is extracted. In addition to the above examples, it goes without saying that character edges such as table ruled lines can be used for inspection.
As described above, since the horizontal and vertical components are targeted, it is possible to independently inspect the positional deviation in the horizontal and vertical directions. Furthermore, since image data having continuity of character edge runs is extracted and used for inspection, it is not affected by the halftone processing of the image portion.

In the processing flow of FIG. 8, next, an inspection edge image is extracted from the inspection document image data 83 based on the inspection image region determined in the previous step S103 (step S104).
This processing is performed by the inspection edge image extraction means 263. By extracting an edge image from the inspection document image in the inspection image region, the edge image extracted from the reference image data 81 when determining the inspection image region is obtained. The image color and position (coordinates) of the edge image in the corresponding inspection document are obtained.
Here, the image area to be extracted is acquired from the inspection document image data 83 based on the inspection image area. The size of the area to be acquired is similar to the length of the run of the edge image in the reference image described above. It depends on the accuracy of the printing device and the inspection device. Also in this case, the deviation on the printing paper surface varies depending on the printing apparatus, and the reading position is deviated, so that the inspection area can be extracted without any problem even if the position is deviated. get.

In this step, the edge image extracted from the inspection document image data 83 extracts a place where the density is rapidly changed from white to white, and this edge image is used as image data to be inspected.
This edge image extraction method can be implemented by using the same method as the edge extraction performed on the reference image data 81 when the inspection image region is determined in step S103. That is, the inspection document image data of the determined inspection area is processed by the image area separation unit shown in FIG. 9, and an image from which a color character edge area separation signal is detected is extracted.

Next, a misregistration is obtained from the inspection original image output by the printing apparatus (MFP 100) to be inspected, and it is determined whether or not the obtained misregistration is within a predetermined range (step S105).
This process is performed by the pass / fail judgment unit 267, and can be obtained when there is no misregistration with the edge image data extracted from the inspection document image data 83 in step S104 (the corresponding edge of the reference image data 81). The image data is compared with the image data, and a data value representing the misregistration is obtained from the obtained comparison result, and it is determined whether or not the obtained data value is within a predetermined range.

Here, the relationship between the edge image extracted from the inspection document image data 83 in step S104 and the misregistration will be described.
FIG. 10 is a conceptual diagram illustrating a configuration of color components of color character edges extracted from an inspection document image, and illustrating a state in which color components overlap with each other. In the example shown in the figure, each color component of a color (black) character edge formed by overlapping four colors (Y, M, C, Bk) is drawn in three different overlapping states (a) to (c). Is shown.
(A) in FIG. 10 shows a state in which there is no color misregistration (print misregistration). When this drawing state is read by the scanner 21, the RGB reading density does not change from black to white but changes from black to gray to white due to the scanner reading characteristic at the edge portion. However, when there is no misregistration, the RGB readings are almost equal. The image size obtained by this edge reading is equal to the size of the reference edge image extracted from the reference image data 81.

  (B) in FIG. 10 shows a state in which only the Bk plate is displaced. When this drawing state is read by the scanner 21, as in (a), at the edge portion, the scanner reading characteristic does not change from black to white but changes from black to gray to white. In this case, the RGB readings are almost equal even if there is misregistration. However, since the Bk plate is deviated, the distance during the transition from black to white becomes longer, which is the difference from (a). The image size obtained by this edge reading is longer than the size of the reference edge image extracted from the reference image data 81, and the longer portion becomes the deviation amount of the Bk plate.

(C) in FIG. 10 is a case where only the Y plate is displaced. When this drawing state is read by the scanner 21, the RGB read values become yellow at the right edge while changing from black to white. At the left edge, the color changing from black to white is blue.
Similarly, when only the M plate is shifted, the color that changes from black to white at the edge becomes magenta or green.
Similarly, when only the C plate is shifted, the color that changes from black to white at the edge becomes cyan or red.
If the Y + M (R), M + C (B), and Y + C (G) plates are also shifted, the color that changes from black to white at the edge becomes magenta or yellow when Y + M (R), and M + C (B) The time is cyan or magenta, and the color is cyan or yellow when Y + C (G).
In this way, the occurrence of misregistration is detected by using the fact that the read edge image has a different color (density) from the original, and the misregistration amount at that time is detected. Compared with the reference edge image extracted from the reference image data 81, the size of the obtained image can be detected by the length that has become longer.

Further, the following method can be adopted as a method of detecting the deviation amount.
That is, the inspection document image data 83 is read from the document, and the shift amount is obtained only from the extracted RGB data of the edge image.
In this method, first, the RGB image data of the extracted edge image is color-converted into a CMY system having ink (color component) characteristics used for creating a color image.
Next, with respect to the edge image after color conversion to the CMY system, the combination of each color component constituting each pixel is examined, and the correction amount for moving the image to the combination that minimizes the shift between the color components is regarded as the shift amount. Detect this amount.

It is checked whether or not the deviation amount detected by any of the above methods exceeds a range set in advance as an allowable amount, and whether or not misregistration has been determined.
In addition, the following method can be used to determine whether or not misregistration has occurred. That is, as described with reference to FIG. 10, since the direction of the color shift is known depending on how the edge is colored, the shift is corrected by an allowable amount set in advance as an allowable range in the direction of correcting the shift. After the correction, if the direction of the deviation is reversed before the correction, the deviation amount is found to be within the allowable range.On the other hand, after the correction is made, the direction of the deviation is different from that before the correction. Otherwise, it can be seen that the positional deviation amount exceeds the allowable value.
In this determination processing method, for example, the plate shift detects the shift amount in units of edge images extracted for each inspection image region, and the pass / fail determination determines whether the detected shift amounts are detected for all the extracted edge images. If it is within a predetermined range, it is normal and passes, while if any one is out of range, it is abnormal and fails.

As described above, the inspection original output on paper based on the reference image data 81 is read by the image inspection apparatus 200, the read inspection original image data 83 is prepared, and the inspection image determined by the reference edge extracted from the reference image data 81 is prepared. By adopting an image inspection method that compares the edge image data extracted from the inspection document image data 83 in the area with the desired edge image data, the data processing is simple and the processing load can be reduced, and the detection of localized misalignment is also possible. It can be applied and the detection accuracy can be kept high, and the problems of the prior art described in the above [Problems to be solved by the invention] can be solved.
In addition, since the reference image data does not need to use a special image for inspection (for example, a test image pattern called “register mark”), special data is prepared for a printing apparatus to be inspected and a special operation is performed. There is nothing to do. For this reason, the printing operation can be continued, and the output performance can be improved.

“Use of image inspection results”
The above-described image inspection indicates as a result of inspection that the plate misalignment generated in the image at the specific edge position of the inspection original image data 83 exceeds the allowable range and fails. If the cause of the failure of the inspection result is clarified and correction is possible, the operation of the printing apparatus can be controlled so that normal output can be performed. For example, the misregistration amount obtained as the inspection result is sent as correction data to the controller 6 of the printing apparatus (MFP 100) to be inspected, and the controller 6 that receives this data adjusts the timing of the image writing operation, for example. By doing so, the misregistration can be corrected.
Furthermore, if the amount of misregistration indicated by the inspection result is an abnormal output that degrades the print quality and is judged to be inappropriate for use, the abnormal output is separated from the normally printed paper. It is desirable to keep it. In particular, it is an effective means against abnormalities due to accidental factors.
Therefore, the inspection result can be transmitted to the controller 6 of the printing apparatus (MFP 100) as a control signal for performing control to distribute the printing paper determined to be abnormal and normal printing paper. The control for distributing abnormal printed matter in the printing apparatus is an existing technique (see, for example, Japanese Patent No. 4068210), and the transmission of the abnormal data is applied to this distribution control operation. Control using the image inspection result can be performed.

<Embodiment 2>
In this embodiment, the image created when the paper is output based on the image output data (in the present embodiment, the inspection image data) is an image shift that occurs with respect to the position on the printed paper surface as the paper output. Hereinafter referred to as “positional deviation”)
Inspect.
“Input processing of original image”
After the paper output is performed based on the inspection image data in the MFP 100, the scanner 21 reads an image using the paper output image 70 as a document, converts the read analog RGB image signal into digital image data, and a scanner correction unit. 22 to output.
The scanner correction unit 22 corrects the characteristics unique to the scanner and converts them into standard RGB data. Thereafter, the scanner input image is stored in the HDD 25 as reference document image data so that it can be used for image inspection processing. The processing of the scanner input image is not different from the above <Embodiment 1>, so the above description will be referred to and detailed description will be omitted here.

  The controller 26 receives data for inspection (each data of a reference edge image and inspection image area described later) transmitted from an external device (MFP 100 in this embodiment), and transmits data indicating the result of the image inspection to the external device. (MFP 100 or the like). Note that the configuration and operation related to data input / output of data such as inspection data to / from the external device (MFP 100) in the controller 26 are as described with reference to FIG. 6 in the above <Embodiment 1>. Refer to

“Image inspection function”
The image inspection function of this embodiment will be described in detail.
FIG. 12 is a diagram showing the configuration of the image inspection function of this embodiment.
In the figure, reference image data 81 shown as one of input images is image data to be printed (paper output). As described above, an inspection document is printed using this image data.
The reference image data 81 is a digital image, and each position and color data on the image plane is specified for each pixel. In this embodiment, an image arbitrarily determined for inspection by an operator can be used. Since the prepared reference image data 81 is data that is a source of printing, the image size may be very large. In this case, the image data is reduced to a reduced image data like display image data. For example, the original data may be subjected to digital image processing such as processing.
The other input image is inspection document image data 83. The inspection document image data 83 is output (printed) on the paper using the reference image data 81 by the printing apparatus to be inspected (MFP 100 in the present embodiment), and this output is used as the inspection document. The image data read by the image data 21 and processed by the scanner correction unit 22 is processed as standard RGB data in this embodiment.

The image inspection function includes the reference edge extraction / inspection image region determination unit 262, the inspection edge image extraction unit 264, and the pass / fail determination unit 268 as components.
The reference edge extraction / inspection image area determination means 262 is a means for extracting a reference edge from the reference image data 81 and determining an inspection image area based on the extracted reference edge. In the present embodiment, paying attention to the edge of the reference image, an edge that meets a predetermined condition is specified in the reference image (described in detail later), and an inspection image region (represented by coordinates) determined by the position of the edge pixel To decide. The reference edge extraction method used when determining the inspection image region will be described in detail later. The image color and position (coordinates) of the extracted edge image are obtained by extracting the edge. Further, the extracted edge image is a reference for the positional deviation of the inspection image obtained in this embodiment. Further, since the reference edge extraction / inspection image area determination unit 262 determines the inspection image area on the MFP 100 side in the above description, this unit is included in the MFP 100. However, it may be implemented as processing on the image inspection apparatus 200 side.

The inspection edge image extraction unit 264 is a unit that extracts an edge image from an inspection image region (determined by the reference edge extraction / inspection image region determination unit 262) in the inspection document image data 83. By this means, the inspection edge image corresponding to the reference edge image, that is, the image color and position (coordinates) of the edge image in the inspection document in the inspection image area determined based on the position of the reference edge are obtained.
The pass / fail determination unit 267 compares the reference edge image extracted from the reference image data 81 and the image position of the corresponding inspection edge image of the inspection document when determining the inspection image area, and the generated positional deviation is within a predetermined range. It is means for determining whether or not there is a pass / fail.
Note that the reference edge extraction / inspection image region determination unit 262, the inspection edge image extraction unit 264, and the pass / fail determination unit 268 will be further described in the examples of the processing flow described later.

“Image inspection processing flow”
Processing executed by the image inspection function (see FIG. 12) of the present embodiment will be described according to a procedure.
FIG. 13 is a diagram showing a flow of processing by the image inspection function of the present embodiment that the controller 26 has.
According to the processing flow of FIG. 13, as a procedure for determining the inspection image area, first, an area to be processed in the reference image is recognized (step S201). This process is a process of the reference edge extraction / inspection image area determination means 262, and the process of extracting the reference edge from the reference image in order to determine the inspection image area is performed later. This is processing for recognizing a possible processing area and determining the area according to the recognition result.
Since the edge suitable for the reference edge is selected from the character edge, the character area is first recognized in the reference image data 81 stored in the HDD 5 as the processing area, and the processing area is determined.

In the recognition of the character area, the character area is detected from the image data by the following method. In addition, since it is performed in order to extract the reference edge at a later stage, it is sufficient that only the edge portion of the character image can be detected here, but the entire character may be included in the region.
One of the methods for detecting a character area is a method of detecting image output by a printer function and detecting from print data input via the NIC 12, and the character attribute of the object data of PDL (Page Description Language) is set. It is used as it is and is recognized as a character area, and this area is detected (see, for example, Japanese Patent Laid-Open Nos. 2001-53970 and 2002-237958). Specifically, the PDL data is decoded and expanded into a bitmap, and then the object data in the character attribute area is binarized with a predetermined threshold value to extract characters. Since it is a data character of character attribute object data, even if it is binarized with a predetermined threshold value, the character can be easily extracted.

Further, for example, when detecting a character area from bitmap image data such as a scanner input image, a circumscribed rectangle of a connected component generated by integrating pixel runs is extracted and detected as a character area ( For example, refer to Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2002-288589) or an image area separation method (see, for example, Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2003-259115) that separates a black character edge region, a color character edge region, and other three regions. A region can be detected.
Note that the processing unit using the image area separation method that can be used for output image data from the scanner and that can be applied to the present embodiment is as described with reference to FIG. 9 in <Embodiment 1>. See above for details.

Returning to the processing flow of FIG. 13, next, a character edge having a condition suitable for the reference edge is extracted from the character region detected in the previous step S201 (step S202). This processing is performed by the reference edge extraction / inspection image region determination means 262.
The condition suitable for the reference edge is a place where the density is rapidly changed from dark to white. The area including the character edge corresponds to this condition, and the character edge area separation signal shown in the above image area separation example (FIG. 9). Based on the above, the suitability for this condition can be judged. At this time, in the process of generating the character edge region separation signal, the image region separation unit shown in FIG. 9 detects the halftone dot from the image and determines the character edge, so that it is difficult to extract the halftone dot as the character edge. Thus, an appropriate reference edge is extracted, and as a result, inspection accuracy can be improved.
In this embodiment, since the positional deviation is inspected for each ink color component (Y, M, C, Bk), the character edge image extracted as the reference edge is used as the ink color component (Y, M, C). , Bk).
The color of the character edge image that is actually extracted is seven colors of Y (Y), M (M), C (C), Y + M (R), M + C (B), Y + C (G), and Y + M + C (Bk). . However, since BK is a character part, it is actually a single color print, so it is not a three color Y + M + C but a single Bk color.

In the processing flow of FIG. 13, next, an inspection image region (coordinates) is determined based on the reference edge extracted in the previous step S202 (step S203).
This process is performed by the reference edge extraction / inspection image area determination means 262. A specific reference edge is designated from the reference (character) edges extracted in the previous step, and the designated reference edge area is inspected. Determine as an area. Here, the inspection image area is represented by coordinates.
As a method for designating a specific reference edge, the reference (character) edge extracted on the image plane of the reference image may be displayed on a display of an operation panel (not shown), and the operator may select a character edge at a necessary location. However, an automatic extraction method may be employed.
As an automatic extraction method, if the one-dimensional run (continuous pixel) of the edge pixel at the reference (character) edge to be selected is a run having a predetermined number of pixels or more, the character edge for specifying the center portion of the run is selected. Detect as position.

Specifically, since the extracted edge to be selected is already data of the character boundary on the white background, the run can be recognized by counting how many edge pixels are continuous in the vertical and horizontal directions. . A plurality of runs having such conditions can be recognized, and a run having a necessary position and length is extracted as a specific character edge to be used for the inspection image region determined in this step. Note that the run extracted here serves as a so-called registration mark used in printing, and the number of consecutive runs differs depending on the accuracy of the printing apparatus and the image inspection apparatus to be inspected.
In addition, an image printed (paper output) by the MFP 100 serving as a printing apparatus has a positional deviation that occurs on the paper surface during printing and a reading position that occurs when the image inspection apparatus 200 reads the image after printing. Since an edge cannot be extracted and inspection may not be possible, a character edge having a length run that can be extracted without any problem even in this case is selected.

In addition, as a condition for determining the inspection image area, an area in consideration of the horizontal and vertical deviation inspection of the image plane constituting the raster image can be selected. In other words, the horizontal and vertical shift components can be inspected using the vertical and horizontal lines of the character edges corresponding to the horizontal and vertical directions of the image plane.
For example, as shown in FIG. 11 showing an example of the extracted character edge image, the character “PTO” has an edge 811 in the upper part of “Ding”, and the horizontal run is continuous. This is used as a reference edge image used for the horizontal displacement inspection, and the pixel position (coordinates) of the edge is extracted in order to determine this region as the inspection image region. Further, since the edge 813 of the central portion of “Ding” has a continuous vertical run, this is used as a reference edge image used for the vertical deviation inspection, and this edge is determined in order to determine this area as the inspection image area. Pixel position (coordinates) is extracted. In addition to the above examples, it goes without saying that character edges such as table ruled lines can be used for inspection.
As described above, since the horizontal and vertical components are targeted, it is possible to independently inspect the positional deviation in the horizontal and vertical directions. Furthermore, since image data having continuity of character edge runs is extracted and used for inspection, it is not affected by the halftone processing of the image portion.

A specific example of the misregistration inspection by the method using the vertical and horizontal lines of the character edges corresponding to the horizontal and vertical directions of the image plane will be described below with reference to the conceptual diagram of FIG.
In FIG. 14, the vertical and horizontal directions of one screen 81 are set to the Y axis and X axis of the XY coordinates, respectively. The lowercase symbols a, b, c, and d in the figure are the character run 817 of the edge image in the horizontal (X-axis) direction, and the uppercase symbols A, B, C, and D are the edges in the vertical (Y-axis) direction. This is a character run 815 of the image. The coordinates of the center position of each character run are used as a reference.
The coordinate of the character run 817 in the horizontal direction uses the Y coordinate. The character run in the horizontal direction is hardly affected by the positional accuracy of X.
Similarly, the coordinate of the character run 815 in the vertical direction uses the X coordinate. The character run in the vertical direction is hardly affected by the position accuracy of Y.

FIG. 14 shows an example in which the horizontal and vertical character runs are determined as inspection image areas at the four corners of the screen 81. Each inspection image area is defined by indicating the coordinates and direction of the center position of the character run.
Here, the horizontal and vertical character runs provided at the four corners are a set of a and b, d and e, A and D, and B and E. This is because, as information for inspecting whether or not the inspection image is inclined, the inclination of the line segment connecting the centers of the character runs with this combination is used as inspection data.
Further, the deviation of the inclination of the character run combined with the coordinates of each character run at the above four corners is inspected for each of the four plates (colors) of Y, M, C, and BK.

In the processing flow of FIG. 13, next, an inspection edge image is extracted from the inspection document image data 83 based on the inspection image area determined in the previous step S203 (step S204).
This processing is performed by the inspection edge image extraction means 264. By extracting the inspection edge image from the inspection document image in the inspection image region, the reference edge extracted from the reference image data 81 when the inspection image region is determined. The image color and position (coordinates) of the inspection edge image in the inspection document corresponding to the image are obtained.
Here, based on the inspection image area, the image area to be extracted is acquired from the inspection original image data 83. The size of the area to be acquired is the same as the run length of the reference edge image in the reference image described above. Depending on the accuracy of the printing device and the inspection device. Also in this case, the deviation on the printing paper surface varies depending on the printing apparatus, and the reading position is deviated, so that the inspection area can be extracted without any problem even if the position is deviated. Acquire and extract inspection edge image.

In the inspection edge image extracted from the inspection original image data 83 in this step, a place where the density is rapidly changed from dark to white is extracted, and this edge image is used as image data to be inspected.
This inspection edge image extraction method can be implemented by using the same method as the reference edge extraction performed on the reference image data 81 when the inspection image region is determined in step S203. That is, the image data acquired from the inspection document image data based on the inspection area determined in step S203 is processed by the image area separation unit shown in FIG. 9, and an image from which the character edge area separation signal is detected is extracted. To do.

Next, the positional deviation with respect to the reference image is obtained from the inspection original image output by the printing apparatus (MFP 100) to be inspected, and it is determined whether or not the obtained positional deviation is within a predetermined range (step S105).
This process is performed by the pass / fail determination means 267. The inspection edge image data extracted from the inspection original image data 83 in step S104 and the reference edge image extracted from the reference image data 81 when determining the inspection image area in step S103. This is a process of comparing data with each other, detecting a data value representing a positional deviation from the obtained comparison result, and determining whether or not the detected data value is within a predetermined range.

The process for determining whether or not the positional deviation is acceptable will be described in detail below.
The inspection document image data 83 is read from the document, and the extracted image data of the inspection edge is RGB data. Therefore, this is color-converted into the CMY system of ink (color component) characteristics used for creating a color image, and Y, M , C, and Bk are detected for each color plate.
The positional deviation of the inspection edge image with respect to the reference edge image is obtained as a change in coordinate value. Taking FIG. 14 as an example to refer to the method for extracting the character edge as described above, the position of the reference edge is a coordinate representing the character run 817 in the horizontal direction of the lowercase symbols a, b, c, and d. It is inspected whether or not the coordinates coincide with the coordinates of the character run of the corresponding inspection edge image. In other words, if there is a character run of the inspection edge at the coordinate position of the character run 817 of the reference edge, the inspection image and the edge image match, so there is no positional deviation.

Here, when the coordinates of the character run of the inspection edge and the reference edge do not match, the coordinates are changed in the vertical direction to search for the presence or absence of the character run of the inspection edge. When an edge is found, this is the position (coordinate) of the character run of the inspection edge, and the amount of change in the Y coordinate value from the coordinate position of the character run 817 of the reference edge is obtained as the positional deviation amount. Similarly, the character run 815 in the vertical direction can determine the amount of change in the X coordinate as the amount of positional deviation.
In this way, the positional deviation amount between the reference edge image and the inspection edge image is obtained as the change amount of the coordinate value.
In the pass / fail judgment method, since the amount of positional deviation is obtained in units of edge images extracted for each inspection image region, it is normal if all the extracted edge images are within a predetermined range and are accepted, On the other hand, if any one is out of the range, it is abnormal and is rejected. Therefore, when the extraction method illustrated in FIG. 14 is used, if all the four color plates of the four corner images are misaligned within a predetermined range, it is normal and is accepted.

Furthermore, a process for determining whether or not the inclination of the image is acceptable will be described.
Taking FIG. 14 referred to for explaining the character edge extraction method as an example, a and b, d and e in the horizontal and vertical character runs provided at the four corners shown in FIG. Inspection is performed with a set of A and D and B and E.
A set of horizontal character runs 817 of lowercase letters a, b, c, and d obtains the difference between the character run at the reference edge and the character run at the check edge only in the Y-axis direction. This shows how much the Y-axis direction has shifted with respect to the inspection edge. Since the length of each line segment is the same as that of the reference edge image, it can be seen how much it is tilted by the amount of deviation in the Y-axis direction.
Similarly, since the set of the vertical character runs 815 of the capital letters A, B, C, and D can be seen how much the X-axis direction has shifted, it can be determined how much it is tilted by the amount of shift in the X-axis direction.
Whether or not the inclination result is within a predetermined range is a pass / fail determination result. If all of the inclination amounts obtained from the four sets are within a predetermined range, it is normal and passed.

  In this embodiment, all four colors of the ink component are inspected. However, it is not always necessary to inspect the four colors. For example, the most frequently used color in the printed characters is detected and only the color is inspected. As for other colors, it is possible to compensate for the positional deviation and inclination of the other colors by inspecting the positional relationship of the four colors (color plate deviation). Note that the color misregistration inspection can be performed by applying an existing color misregistration detection technique (for example, see Japanese Patent No. 3788696). Further, since the most used color is generally black, the color for inspecting misalignment and inclination may be limited to black.

As described above, the inspection original output on paper based on the reference image data 81 is read by the image inspection apparatus 200, the read inspection original image data 83 is prepared, and the inspection image determined by the reference edge extracted from the reference image data 81 is prepared. By adopting an image inspection method that compares the inspection edge extracted from the inspection original image data 83 in the area with the reference edge, the data processing is simple, the processing load can be reduced, and it can be applied to the detection of localized misalignment. The accuracy can be kept high, and the problems of the prior art described in [Problems to be solved by the invention] above can be solved.
In addition, since the reference image data does not need to use a special image for inspection (for example, a test image pattern called “register mark”), special data is prepared for a printing apparatus to be inspected and a special operation is performed. There is nothing to do. For this reason, the printing operation can be continued, and the output performance can be improved.

“Use of image inspection results”
The image inspection according to the present embodiment indicates that the positional deviation generated in the image at the specific edge position of the inspection document image data 83 exceeds the allowable range and fails as an inspection result. If the cause of the failure of the inspection result is clarified and correction is possible, the operation of the printing apparatus can be controlled so that normal output can be performed. For example, the misregistration amount obtained as the inspection result is sent as correction data to the controller 6 of the printing apparatus (MFP 100) to be inspected, and the controller 6 that receives this data writes an image for each color plate in the plotter 9. Correction can be performed by controlling the operation of the image forming unit or the like. The misregistration correction control operation has been conventionally performed in all printing apparatuses, and the control using the image inspection result of this embodiment is performed by applying the abnormal data transmission to the control operation. be able to.

Further, if the image density indicated by the inspection result is an abnormal output having a density lower than the print quality, and it is determined that the image density is inappropriate for use, the abnormal output is the same as the normal output paper. It is desirable to keep it separate. In particular, it is an effective means against abnormalities due to accidental factors.
Therefore, the inspection result can be transmitted to the controller 6 of the printing apparatus (MFP 100) as a control signal for performing control to distribute the printing paper determined to be abnormal and normal printing paper. The control for distributing abnormal printed matter in the printing apparatus is an existing technique (see, for example, Japanese Patent No. 4068210), and the transmission of the abnormal data is applied to this distribution control operation. Control using the image inspection result can be performed.

1, 21 ..Scanner, 2,22 ..Scanner correction unit, 3,23 ..Compression processing unit, 5,25 ..HDD, 6,26 ..Controller, 7..Expansion processing unit, 8..Printer Correction unit, 9 ·· Plotter, 12 ·· NIC, 100 ·· MFP, 200 ·· Image inspection apparatus, 261 ·· Inspection image region determination means, 262 ·· Reference edge extraction and inspection image region determination means, 263,264 .. Inspection edge image extracting means, 267, 268... Pass / fail judgment means, 320.

Japanese Patent No. 3788696 JP 2007-279708 A Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 10-67099 JP 2006-130795 A

Claims (15)

  1. A pass / fail determination that reads an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on a reference inspection image data by an original reading unit, compares the read image data value with a reference value, and determines pass / fail from the comparison result An image inspection apparatus having means,
    Document reading means for reading a document and outputting document image data;
    Means for storing the inspection image data;
    Reference edge extraction means for extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data in the storage means;
    Inspection image region determining means for determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the extracted reference edge as an inspection image region;
    An inspection document image created by a printing device to be inspected based on the inspection image data is read by the original reading unit, and a feature amount is determined from the inspection image region determined by the inspection image region determination unit in the output image data Feature amount extraction means for extracting
    Pass / fail judgment means for judging pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature quantity extracted by the feature quantity extraction means;
    I have a,
    The feature amount extraction means extracts an edge from the inspection image region,
    The acceptance / rejection determination unit determines whether the deviation between the edge image data extracted by the feature amount extraction unit and the corresponding reference edge image data value of the inspection image data is within a predetermined value range. An image inspection apparatus characterized by determining
  2. A pass / fail determination that reads an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on a reference inspection image data by an original reading unit, compares the read image data value with a reference value, and determines pass / fail from the comparison result An image inspection apparatus having means,
    Document reading means for reading a document and outputting document image data;
    Means for storing the inspection image data;
    Reference edge extraction means for extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data in the storage means;
    Inspection image region determining means for determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the extracted reference edge as an inspection image region;
    An inspection document image created by a printing device to be inspected based on the inspection image data is read by the original reading unit, and a feature amount is determined from the inspection image region determined by the inspection image region determination unit in the output image data Feature amount extraction means for extracting
    Pass / fail judgment means for judging pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature quantity extracted by the feature quantity extraction means;
    I have a,
    The reference edge extraction means extracts edges generated by high density images other than black,
    The feature amount extraction means extracts an edge from the inspection image region,
    The pass / fail determination means determines pass / fail based on whether or not a shift between colors of the edge image data values extracted by the feature amount extraction means is within a predetermined value range. .
  3. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 2 ,
    An image inspection apparatus, wherein an edge of the inspection document image has color component data of two or more colors.
  4. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 2 or 3 ,
    An image inspection apparatus, wherein an edge of the inspection document image is a color character.
  5. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 2 or 3 ,
    An edge of the inspection document image has color component data of four colors including black.
  6. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 1 ,
    The pass / fail determination means compares the image position of the specific edge in the reference edge extracted from the inspection image data with the image position of the edge corresponding to the specific edge extracted by the feature amount extraction means, An image inspection apparatus, wherein pass / fail is determined based on whether or not the positional deviation is within a predetermined range.
  7. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 6 ,
    The image inspection apparatus, wherein the specific edge is a character edge in a character attribute of page description language data.
  8. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 6 or 7 ,
    The image inspection apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the reference edge extraction unit performs white background determination when extracting the reference edge.
  9. The image inspection apparatus according to claim 6 or 7 ,
    The image inspection apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the reference edge extraction means performs halftone dot determination when extracting the reference edge.
  10. The image inspection apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 9 ,
    The inspection image area determining means determines an inspection image area by using horizontal and vertical edges as the specific edge.
  11. The image inspection apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 10 ,
    An image inspection apparatus, further comprising: data transmission means for transmitting acceptance / rejection data to a printing apparatus to be inspected that created the inspection original image according to a determination result of the acceptance / rejection determination means.
  12. A pass / fail determination that reads an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on a reference inspection image data by an original reading unit, compares the read image data value with a reference value, and determines pass / fail from the comparison result An image inspection method in an image inspection apparatus having means,
    A document reading step of reading a document and outputting document image data ;
    Storing the inspection image data in a storage means;
    A reference edge extraction step of extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data of the storage means;
    A test image region determination step of determining an image area surrounding the particular edge in the reference edge extracted by the reference edge extracting step as the inspection image area,
    Reading the test original image created by the inspection target of the printing apparatus based on the test image data by said original reading means, the inspection image region determined Oite the inspection image region determination step of the image data to be output A feature extraction process for extracting features;
    A pass / fail determination step of determining pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature amount extracted in the feature amount extraction step;
    Have
    In the feature amount extraction step, an edge is extracted from the inspection image region,
    In the acceptance / rejection determination step, whether or not the deviation between the edge image data extracted in the feature amount extraction step and the corresponding reference edge image data value of the inspection image data is within a predetermined value range. An image inspection method, wherein pass / fail is determined.
  13. A pass / fail determination that reads an inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on a reference inspection image data by an original reading unit, compares the read image data value with a reference value, and determines pass / fail from the comparison result An image inspection method in an image inspection apparatus having means,
    A document reading step of reading a document and outputting document image data;
    Storing the inspection image data in a storage means;
    A reference edge extraction step of extracting a reference edge from the inspection image data of the storage means;
    An inspection image region determination step of determining an image region surrounding a specific edge in the reference edge extracted in the reference edge extraction step as an inspection image region;
    An inspection document image created by a printing apparatus to be inspected based on the inspection image data is read by the document reading unit, and a feature amount is determined from the inspection image region determined in the inspection image region determination step in the output image data A feature extraction process for extracting
    A pass / fail determination step of determining pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature amount extracted in the feature amount extraction step;
    Have
    In the reference edge extraction step, an edge generated by a high density image other than black is extracted,
    In the feature amount extraction step, an edge is extracted from the inspection image region,
    In the pass / fail determination step, the pass / fail determination is made based on whether or not a shift between colors of the edge image data values extracted in the feature amount extraction step is within a predetermined value range. .
  14. In the image inspection method according to claim 12 or 13,
    Storing the inspection image data in a storage means;
    A reference edge extraction step of extracting the reference edge from the inspection image data of said storage means,
    A test image region determination step of determining an image area surrounding the particular edge in the reference edge extracted by the reference edge extracting step as the inspection image area,
    Wherein Ri test original image created by the inspection target of the printing apparatus based on the test image data read by said original reading means, the inspection image region determined Oite the inspection image region determination step of the image data to be output A feature extraction process for extracting features from
    A pass / fail determination step of determining pass / fail of the inspection document image based on the feature amount extracted in the feature amount extraction step;
    A program that causes a computer to perform each of these processes.
  15. A computer-readable recording medium on which the program according to claim 14 is recorded.

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