An image processing engineer specializes in the manipulation, preparation, and evaluation of images. Image processing engineers are most commonly employed in the fields of science, engineering, or manufacturing. They are also, however, commonly employed in the arts, particularly in those fields that utilize digital media. Most generally, an image processing engineer is able to identify, extract, analyze, and convert any information contained in a set of captured images.
Image processing can be thought of as the manipulation of the data that is contained within a captured image. Most commonly, image processing refers to the digital processing of an image, although there are also non-digital methods of image processing, such as those affiliated with film photography. Images can be captured in a wide variety of ways, and thus can contain an incredibly wide variety of bits of information. For example, an image can contain two-dimensional or three-dimensional visual information. The visual information can then include data gathered in a variety of wavelengths.
It is the job of an image processing engineer to be able to sift through the substantial amount of data in any given image. They must be able to identify the crucial pieces of information, extract, and manipulate the data so that it can be analyzed for its intended purpose. Finally, an image processing engineer must be able to conduct the analysis of the image data and present the results and the final image in a usable format. This general approach to image processing is accomplished with a variety of digital processing techniques.
The field and techniques of image processing are dynamic and rapidly changing. Often, an image processing engineer is required to be familiar with a large number of analytical techniques and image processing algorithms. Continuing education in new image formats and techniques is also often required. Some of the most common image processing operations that are utilized by image engineers include image editing, filtering, segmentation, and interpolation.
An image processing engineer usually begins his career by obtaining training in the fields of computer science or engineering. He then may specialize in a field of image analysis, such as a specific area of the sciences or arts. Image processing engineers may be employed by private corporations, government agencies, or in academic environments. Common careers include specialists in remote sensing, digital arts and media, feature or face detection, and biomedical imaging.
Particularly notable areas in which image processing engineers can work include the analysis of space images, such as those collected by satellites or space telescopes. Digital animation and special effects in the movie industry require large numbers of image processing engineers. Research in image processing techniques continues to advance, also providing many opportunities for image engineers in academia.