In this work we comprehensively categorize image quality measures, extend measures defined for gray scale images to their multispectral case, and propose novel image quality measures. They are categorized into pixel difference-based, correlation-based, edge-based, spectral-based, context-based and human visual system (HVS)-based measures. Furthermore we compare these measures statistically for still image compression applications. The statistical behavior of the measures and their sensitivity to coding artifacts are investigated via analysis of variance techniques. Their similarities or differences are illustrated by plotting their Kohonen maps. Measures that give consistent scores across an image class and that are sensitive to coding artifacts are pointed out. It was found that measures based on the phase spectrum, the multiresolution distance or the HVS filtered mean square error are computationally simple and are more responsive to coding artifacts. We also demonstrate the utility of combining selected quality metrics in building a steganalysis tool. (C) 2002 SPIE and IST.