One of the most active research area in the watermarking community is the research in dealing with geometric distortion. The geometric distortion problem has two aspects, namely its effect on watermark detectability and its effect on the perceptual quality of the watermarked data. Most research in this area has been concentrated on addressing the first aspect of the problem, and research on objective visual quality assessment of geometrically distorted images is not widely discussed in the literature. As a consequence, there is a lack of objective visual quality measurement for this class of distortion. In this paper we propose a method of objectively assessing the perceptual quality of geometrically distorted images. Our approach is based on the modeling of a complex, global geometric distortion using local, simpler geometric transformation models. The locality of this simpler geometric transformation determines the visual quality of the distorted images.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.