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Illuminant spectrum maximizing the number of perceived colors in art paintings

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The type of illumination used in museums is an important issue because of the damaging effects of light and because the visual impression of art works is critically influenced by the spectral profile and intensity of the illumination. The aim of this work was to determine computationally the spectrum of the illumination maximizing the number of colors perceived by normal observers when viewing art paintings. Hyperspectral images of eleven oil paintings were collected at the museum and the chromatic diversity under specific illuminants was estimated by computing the representation of the paintings in the CIELAB color space and by counting the number of nonempty unit cubes occupied by the corresponding color volume. An optimization algorithm was used to estimate the illuminant spectrum maximizing the number of colors for each painting. It was found that the optimized illuminant varied little with the painting and that it could produce a chromatic diversity about 25% higher than D65. These results suggest that spectrally tuned light sources may improve appreciation of art paintings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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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