City Research Online

Color Perception in Natural Images

Tyler, C. W. ORCID: 0000-0002-1512-4626 & Solomon, J. A. ORCID: 0000-0001-9976-4788 (2019). Color Perception in Natural Images. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 30, pp. 8-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.04.002


This review of color processing in natural image viewing – rather than artificial laboratory images – addresses the role of color edges. Much of the color variation in nature is a result of evolutionary processes in complex organisms that have developed eye-brain systems that use color signals for a variety of biological functions. One aspect of human color processing is the tendency to attribute the appearance of extended color fields to a process of filling-in from the differential color signals at color edges, where one color transitions to another. Does such a process account for the appearance of extended color fields in natural images? Some form of color filling-in must underlie the color filling-in percept known as the Watercolor Effect, but this effect is too weak to account for the appearance of extended color fields in natural images. Moreover, natural images do not look very colorful when their color is restricted to edge transitions. Conversely, purely chromatic images with maximally graded (‘edgeless’) transitions look fully colorful, leading to the conclusion that color filling-in makes no more than a minor contribution to the appearance of extended color regions in natural images. Other effects, such as the selective enhancement of perceived image color by luminance contours coordinated with the color contours and color image structure, also play a role the color perception of natural images.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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