I was asked to perform DFT on an image twice as a part of my school assignment. Why am I getting a blurry inverted image when I perform DFT on an image twice? Sorry, I'm new to image processing and signal processing. Can someone help me explain this mathematically?

Here's the result I obtained. PS: I used FFT algorithms to perform the DFT. (Python and numpy, np.fft.fft2) Original Image, Magnitude Spectrum of the DFT, and Magnitude Spectrum of double DFT, in order

[Edit]: I haven't shifted the DC value, F(0,0), to the center as usual, for the magnitude spectra given here. (I haven't used np.fft.fftshift)

Here's the exact code I used.

import numpy as np
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

img = plt.imread("Q4.tif")
dft = np.fft.fft2(img)
dft_of_dft = np.fft.fft2(dft)

spectrum = np.abs(dft)
c = 255 / log(1 + np.amax(spectrum))
spectrum = c*np.log(spectrum)

double_dft_spectrum = np.abs(dft_of_dft)
c = 255 / log(1 + np.amax(double_dft_spectrum))
double_dft_spectrum = c*np.log(double_dft_spectrum)

p, axarr = plt.subplots(1, 3, figsize=(12,4))
axarr[0].imshow(img, cmap = 'gray')
axarr[0].set_title('Original Image')
axarr[1].imshow(spectrum, cmap = 'gray')
axarr[2].imshow(double_dft_spectrum, cmap = 'gray')
axarr[2].set_title('Double DFT')
  • $\begingroup$ What are you using to apply the FFT? $\endgroup$
    – Royi
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Royi I'm using python and numpy. Using np.fft.fft2 function to be exact. $\endgroup$
    – icyfire
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ Share your code and we'll assist you. I would guess you use fft twice. $\endgroup$
    – Royi
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Royi I have added the code in a new edit. $\endgroup$
    – icyfire
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


It's a DFT property that if you apply DFT twice to input data, you get the original signal flipped (circularly). Stated mathematically for 1D case:

$$ x[n] \xrightarrow{ N-DFT } X[k] $$ $$ X[k] \xrightarrow{ N-DFT } Y[k] = N x[-k] $$

similar result can be shown for 2D case. And as you can see, the resulting output is the flipped (horizontally and vertically) original data.

You can see mathematical derivation in other questions on this site. I remember having answered that before. Please check this site for applying DFT or FFT twice.

Such as this answer...

  • $\begingroup$ @Royi Oh I didin't see you were waiting for his response. Anyway you can still fix his code... ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Fat32
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for an answer. Could you give some link or any kind of reference to read more about this? As I mentioned I'm a beginner I'm gonna need a little bit more explanation. $\endgroup$
    – icyfire
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Fat32, I was kidding. As long the information is right this is good. $\endgroup$
    – Royi
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @icyfire I pointed another answer for your help. $\endgroup$
    – Fat32
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:39

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