Surface color perception in three-dimensional scenes

Huseyin Boyaci, Katja Doerschner, Jacqueline L. Snyder, Laurence T. Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researchers studying surface color perception have typically used stimuli that consist of a small number of matte patches (real or simulated) embedded in a plane perpendicular to the line of sight (a "Mondrian," Land & McCann, 1971). Reliable estimation of the color of a matte surface is a difficult if not impossible computational problem in such limited scenes (Maloney, 1999). In more realistic, three-dimensional scenes the difficulty of the problem increases, in part, because the effective illumination incident on the surface (the light field) now depends on surface orientation and location. We review recent work in multiple laboratories that examines (1) the degree to which the human visual system discounts the light field in judging matte surface lightness and color and (2) what illuminant cues the visual system uses in estimating the flow of light in a scene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalVisual neuroscience
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Binocular perception
  • Color constancy
  • Light field
  • Lightness constancy
  • Plenoptic function
  • Surface color perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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