Cues to an equivalent lighting model

Huseyin Boyaci, Katja Doerschner, Laurence T. Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate how human observers make use of three candidate cues in their lightness judgments. Each cue potentially provides information about the spatial distribution of light sources in complex, rendered 3D scenes. The illumination (lighting model) of each scene consisted of a punctate light source combined with a diffuse light source. The cues were (1) cast shadows, (2) surface shading, and (3) specular highlights. Observers were asked to judge the albedo of a matte grayscale test patch that varied in orientation with respect to the punctate light source. We tested their performance in scenes containing only one type of cue and in scenes where all three cue types were present. From the results, we deduced how accurately they had estimated the spatial distribution of light sources in each scene given the cues available. In Experiment 1, we established that all of the individual cues were used in isolation. We showed that the highlight and cast shadow cues in isolation were used by more than half of the observers. We could reject the hypothesis that the observers did not make use of the shading cue for only one observer. In Experiment 2, we showed that the observers combined information from multiple cues when all three cues were presented together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 6 2006


  • Albedo
  • Cue combination
  • Lightness
  • Surface color perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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