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Rethinking Image Color Correction, Validation and Testing

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Digital image capture normally includes a color-correction step that transforms detector signals into corresponding image pixel values. For digital cameras and scanners, we usually base the color-correction operation on captured images of reference color charts. Measures of object color-capture are included in recent imaging guidelines for cultural heritage institutions. Several methods have been adopted as standard practice, with the aim of reducing image-capture variation. During the evaluation of the goodness of object-to-image color-encoding, there is normally a validation step. This involves comparing the original target colorimetry to that of the predicted colors and calculating summary color-difference metrics for the population of target samples.

While this is an instinctive and common approach we believe it needs to be revisited. The current summary statistics for evaluating color capture goodness can be misleading for the color-content at hand. Additionally, reporting color error measurements for the same colors that were used to develop the color-correction is effectively 'teaching to the test' when evaluating digital capture color performance. We discuss strategies for selecting validation colors based on generic and specific use cases along with examples.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • The IS&T (digital) Archiving Conference offers a unique opportunity for imaging scientists and those working in the cultural heritage community (curators, archivists, librarians, photographers etc) from around the world to come together to discuss the most pressing issues related to the digital preservation and stewardship of hardcopy, and other cultural heritage documents and objects. Authors come from museums, archives, libraries, government institutions, industry and academia. Cutting edge topics related to multispectral and 3D imaging, as well as best practices for workflow, sharing, standards, and asset/collection management and dissemination are explored in papers presented at this annual, international event.

    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 pertuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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