Journal of Real-Time Image Processing

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 589–599 | Cite as

Fast turtle shell-based data embedding mechanisms with good visual quality

  • Ching-Chun Chang
  • Yanjun LiuEmail author
Special Issue Paper


Data hiding for digital images is referred to as an approach of embedding confidential or sensitive information into a cover image. Besides embedding capacity and visual quality, computational complexity is the most important criterion to evaluate the performance of a data hiding method. At present the turtle shell matrix is used extensively in data hiding; unfortunately, most of the turtle shell-based data hiding methods are still time consuming. In this paper, we proposed two enhanced real-time turtle shell-based data hiding schemes. One applies the original turtle shell matrix to guide data embedding, achieving an embedding rate of 1.5 bpp; while the other slightly modifies the structure of turtle shell matrix in such a way that each edge digit is increased by eight, resulting in an embedding rate of up to 2 bpp. The main idea of both proposed schemes is to map each cover pixel pair onto the original or modified turtle shell matrix to find out its associate set for embedding a secret digit. Then, the cover pixel pair can be modified with minimum distortion according to the associate set. Experimental results confirm that the execution time for both of the proposed schemes is much shorter than previous methods, along with better visual qualities. Therefore, the proposed schemes offer lower computational complexities to be applied to various real-time applications.


Data hiding Real-time Turtle shell matrix Computational complexity Visual quality 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Qin, C., Chang, C.C., Chiu, Y.P.: A novel joint data-hiding and compression scheme based on SMVQ and image inpainting. IEEE Trans. Image Process. 23(3), 969–978 (2014)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Qin, C., Ji, P., Zhang, X., Dong, J., Wang, J.: Fragile image watermarking with pixel-wise recovery based on overlapping embedding strategy. Sig. Process. 138, 280–293 (2017)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Zhang, X., Qian, Z., Feng, G., Ren, Y.: Efficient reversible data hiding in encrypted images. J. Vis. Commun. Image Represent. 25(2), 322–328 (2014)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Qin, C., Ji, P., Chang, C.C., Dong, J., Sun, X.: Non-uniform watermark sharing based on optimal iterative BTC for image tampering recovery. IEEE Multimed. (2018). Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Qin, C., He, Z., Luo, X., Dong, J.: Reversible data hiding in encrypted image with separable capability and high embedding capacity. Inf. Sci. 465, 285–304 (2018)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ni, Z., Shi, Y.Q., Ansari, N., Wei, S.: Reversible data hiding. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Technol. 16(3), 354–362 (2006)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Thodi, D.M., Rodriguez, J.J.: Expansion embedding techniques for reversible watermarking. IEEE Trans. Image Process. 16(3), 721–730 (2007)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tian, J.: Reversible data embedding using a difference expansion. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Technol. 13(8), 890–896 (2003)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zhang, X., Wang, S.: Efficient steganographic embedding by exploiting modification direction. IEEE Commun. Lett. 10(11), 781–783 (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kim, H.J., Kim, C., Choi, Y., Wang, S., Zhang, X.: Improved modification direction schemes. Comput. Math. Appl. 60(2), 319–325 (2010)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chang, C.C., Chou, Y.C., Kieu, T.D.: An information hiding scheme using Sudoku. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Innovative Computing, Information and Control, Dalian, China, pp. 17–22 (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hong, W., Chen, T.S., Shiu, C.W.: A minimal euclidean distance searching technique for Sudoku steganography. In: Proceedings of International Symposium on Information Science and Engineering, Shanghai, China, vol. 1, pp. 515–518 (2008)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Huang, J., Shi, Y.Q., Shi, Y.: Embedding image watermarks in DC component. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Technol. 10(6), 974–979 (2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chen, B., Wornell, G.W.: Quantization index modulation: a class of provably good methods for digital watermarking and information embedding. IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 47(4), 1423–1443 (2001)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Irvine, J., Harle, D.: Data communications and networks: an engineering approach. Wiley, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Russell, E., Jarvis, F.: Mathematics of Sudoku II. Math. Spectr. 39(2), 54–58 (2007)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Liu, Y., Chang, C.C., Huang, P.C., Cheng, Y.H.: Efficient information hiding by theory of numbers. Symmetry 10(1), 1–17 (2018) Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Liu, Y., Chang, C.C., Huang, P.C.: Extended exploiting-modification-direction data hiding with high capacity. In: 2017 International Conference on Video and Image Processing (ICVIP 2017), Singapore, pp. 151–155, (2017)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Chang, C.C., Liu, Y., Nguyen, T.S.: A novel turtle shell based scheme for data hiding. In: The Tenth International Conference on Intelligent Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing (IIHMSP 2014), Kitakyushu, Japan, pp. 89–93, (2014)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Liu, Y., Chang, C.C., Nguyen, T.S.: High capacity turtle shell-based data hiding. IET Image Proc. 10(2), 130–137 (2015)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Liu, L., Chang, C.C., Wang, A.: Data hiding based on extended turtle shell matrix construction method. Multimed. Tools Appl. 76(10), 12233–12250 (2017)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Xie, X.Z., Lin, C.C., Chang, C.C.: Data hiding based on a two-layer turtle shell matrix. Symmetry 10(2), 1–14 (2018) Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Liu, Y., Chang, C.C.: A turtle shell-based visual secret sharing scheme with reversibility and authentication. Multimed. Tools Appl. (2018) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.Department of Information Engineering and Computer ScienceFeng Chia UniversityTaichungTaiwan, ROC

Personalised recommendations