Abstract

For some sets of surfaces, the spatial ratios of cone-photoreceptor excitations produced by light reflected from pairs of surfaces are almost invariant under illuminant changes. These sets include large populations of spectral reflectances, some of which represent individual natural surfaces but not their relative abundances in nature. The aim of this study was to determine whether spatial cone-excitation ratios are preserved under illuminant changes within the natural visual environment. A fast hyperspectral imaging system was used to obtain populations of 640,000 reflectance spectra from each of 30 natural scenes. The statistics of spatial cone-excitation ratios for randomly selected pairs of points in these scenes were determined for two extreme daylights. Almost-invariant ratios were common, suggesting that they represent a reliable property of the natural visual environment and a suitable foundation for visual color constancy.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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