Paper 1996/013

On the Contrast in Visual Cryptography Schemes

Carlo Blundo, Alfredo De Santis, and Douglas R. Stinson


A visual cryptography scheme is a method to encode a secret image SI into shadow images called shares such that certain qualified subsets of shares enable the ``visual'' recovery of the secret image. The ``visual'' recovery consists of xeroxing the shares onto transparencies, and then stacking them. The shares of a qualified set will reveal the secret image without any cryptographic computation. In this paper we analyze the contrast of the reconstructed image in k out of n visual cryptography schemes. (In such a scheme any k shares will reveal the image, but no set of k-1 shares gives any information about the image.) In the case of 2 out of n threshold schemes we give a complete characterization of schemes having optimal contrast and minimum pixel expansion in terms of certain balanced incomplete block designs. In the case of k out of n threshold schemes with k>2 we obtain upper and lower bounds on the optimal contrast.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. Appeared in the THEORY OF CRYPTOGRAPHY LIBRARY and has been included in the ePrint Archive.
Contact author(s)
carblu @ udsab dia unisa it
1996-09-25: received
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      author = {Carlo Blundo and Alfredo De Santis and Douglas R.  Stinson},
      title = {On the Contrast in Visual Cryptography Schemes},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 1996/013},
      year = {1996},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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