Perceived surface color in binocularly viewed scenes with two light sources differing in chromaticity

Huseyin Boyaci, Katja Doerschner, Laurence T. Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the effect of perceived orientation on the perceived color of matte surfaces in rendered three-dimensional scenes illuminated by a blue diffuse light and a yellow punctate light. On each trial, observers first adjusted the color of a matte test patch, placed near the center of the scene, until it appeared achromatic, and then estimated its orientation by adjusting a monocular gradient probe. The orientation of the test patch was varied from trial to trial by the experimental program, effectively varying the chromaticity of the light mixture from the two light sources that would be absorbed and reemitted by a neutral test patch. We found that observers' achromatic settings varied with perceived orientation but that observers only partially discounted orientation in making achromatic settings. We developed an equivalent illuminant model for our task in which we assumed that observers discount orientation using possibly erroneous estimates of the chromaticities of the light sources and/or their spatial distribution. We found that the observers' failures could be explained by two factors: errors in estimating the direction to the punctate light source and errors in estimating the chromaticities of the two light sources. We discuss the pattern of errors in estimating these factors across observers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Pages (from-to)664-679
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 23 2004


  • Binocular disparity
  • Color constancy
  • Color perception
  • Rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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