The high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) standard for three-dimensional (3D) video, which is called 3D-HEVC, improves the compression efficiency for high resolution 3D video sequences. In this study, three coding time reduction algorithms, namely fast coding unit partition, fast prediction unit (PU) partition and search range reduction, are proposed for inter-prediction of 3D-HEVC by referring to the depth edge information. The pixels in one object should have the same motion characteristics. By detecting depth edge, we can easily classify the regional pixels if they are in the same object. Thus, in the encoding stage, the sizes of coding and PUs can be determined by the proposed fast coding unit partition and fast PU partition methods, respectively. Furthermore, the range of motion search can be effectively reduced by the proposed search range reduction method. Experimental results show that the proposed depth edge-based motion search algorithms can reduce the coding time of inter-prediction by up to 62% on average with negligible quality degradation.
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