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A Physical Basis for Color Constancy

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A fundamental problem in psychophysical experiments is that significant conclusions are hard to draw due to the complex experimental environment necessary to examine color constancy. An alternative approach to reveal the mechanisms involved in color constancy is by modeling the physical process of spectral image formation. In this paper, we aim at a physical basis for color constancy rather than a psychophysical one.

By considering spatial and spectral derivatives of the Lambertian image formation model, object reflectance properties are derived independent of the spectral energy distribution of the illuminant. Gaussian spectral and spatial probes are used to estimate the proposed differential invariant. Knowledge about the spectral power distribution of the illuminant is not required for the proposed invariant.

The physical approach to color constancy offered in the paper confirms relational color constancy as a first step in color constant vision systems. Hence, low-level mechanisms as color constant edge detection reported here may play an important role in front-end vision. The research presented raises the question whether the illuminant is estimated at all in pre-attentive vision.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Started in 2002 and merged with the Color and Imaging Conference (CIC) in 2014, CGIV covered a wide range of topics related to colour and visual information, including color science, computational color, color in computer graphics, color reproduction, volor vision/psychophysics, color image quality, color image processing, and multispectral color science. Drawing papers from researchers, scientists, and engineers worldwide, DGIV offered attendees a unique experience to share with colleagues in industry and academic, and on national and international standards committees. Held every year in Europe, DGIV papers were more academic in their focus and had high student participation rates.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual papers for details.

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