Abstract

The CIE chromaticity diagram, which has been in common use for more than 60 years, disguises essential relations among cone excitations that become transparent in a system developed with D. I. A. MacLeod and initially proposed by the author to the CIE in 1979. This proposal led to the formation of a CIE committee to consider an ideal version of the system, to be employed either as a supplement to, or an alternative for, the 1931 “standard observer.” After 15 years, the task remains unfinished. The history of debate within the original committee and that of its successor (which is still active today) is briefly reviewed. Among cone fundamentals that might be chosen, a set derived and published by Stockman, MacLeod, and Johnson [ J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10, 2491 ( 1993)] is favored here, and some of the advantages for displaying visual data in a system based on these fundamentals are illustrated. (The paper is based on the 1995 OSA Frederick Ives Medal address.)

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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References

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    [CrossRef]
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    [CrossRef]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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  48. G. S. Brindley, “The colour of light of very long wavelength,”J. Physiol. (London) 130, 35–44 (1955).
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    [CrossRef]
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1993

1992

J. D. Mollon, “Worlds of difference,” Nature 356, 378–379 (1992).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Nathans, S. L. Merbs, C.-H. Sung, C. J. Weitz, Y. Wang, “Molecular genetics of human visual pigments,” Ann. Rev. Genet. 26, 403–424 (1992).
[CrossRef]

S. L. Merbs, J. Nathans, “Absorption spectra of human cone pigments,” Nature 356, 433–435 (1992).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1987

J. L. Schnapf, T. W. Kraft, D. A. Baylor, “Spectral sensitivity of human cone photoreceptors,” Nature 325, 439–441 (1987).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

P. K. Ahnhelt, H. Kolb, R. Pflug, “Identification of a subtype of cone photoreceptor, likely to be blue sensitive, in the human retina,”J. Comp. Neurol. 255, 18–34 (1987).
[CrossRef]

P. W. Trezona, “Individual observer data for the 1955 Stiles–Burch 2° pilot investigation,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 4, 769–782 (1987).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1986

R. M. Boynton, “A system of photometry and colorimetry based on cone excitations,” Color Res. Appl. 11, 244–252 (1986).
[CrossRef]

J. Nathans, T. P. Piantanida, R. L. Eddy, T. B. Shows, S. G. Hogness, “Molecular genetics of inherited variation in human color vision,” Science 232, 203–210 (1986).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

C. H. Elzinga, C. M. M. de Weert, “Spectral sensitivity functions derived from brightness matching: implications of intensity invariance for color-vision models,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 3, 1183–1191 (1986).
[CrossRef]

1985

R. M. Boynton, R. T. Eskew, C. X. Olson, “Blue cones contribute to border distinctness,” Vision. Res. 25, 1349–1352 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1984

K. Uchikawa, H. Uchikawa, P. K. Kaiser, “Luminance and saturation of equally bright colors,” Color Res. Appl. 9, 5–14 (1984).
[CrossRef]

1983

H. J. A. Dartnall, J. K. Bowmaker, J. D. Mollon, “Human visual pigments: microspectrophotometric results from the eyes of seven persons,” Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 220, 115–130 (1983).
[CrossRef]

1982

J. D. Mollon, “Color vision,” Ann. Rev. Psychol. 33, 41–85 (1982).
[CrossRef]

J. Pokorny, V. C. Smith, “New observations concerning red–green color defects,” Color Res. Appl. 7, 159–164 (1982).
[CrossRef]

J. Krauskopf, D. R. Williams, D. W. Heeley, “Cardinal directions of color space,” Vision Res. 22, 1123–1131 (1982).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1981

D. Nickerson, “OSA color scale samples: a unique set,” Color Res. Appl. 6, 7–33 (1981).
[CrossRef]

1980

R. M. Boynton, N. Kambe, “Chromatic difference steps of moderate size measured along theoretically critical axes,” Color Res. Appl. 5, 13–23 (1980).
[CrossRef]

1979

1978

J. J. Vos, “Colorimetric and photometric properties of a 2-deg fundamental observer,” Color Res. Appl. 3, 125–128 (1978).
[CrossRef]

1975

V. C. Smith, J. Pokorny, “Spectral sensitivity of the foveal cone photopigments between 400 and 500 nm,” Vision Res. 15, 161–171 (1975).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1971

J. J. Vos, P. L. Walraven, “On the derivation of the foveal receptor primaries,” Vision Res. 11, 799–818 (1971).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1964

R. M. Boynton, “Discussion: competing theories of receptor excitation,” Psychol. Bull. 61, 262–267 (1964).
[CrossRef]

1963

1962

J. M. Enoch, W. S. Stiles, “The colour change of monochromatic light with retinal angle of incidence,” Opt. Acta 8, 329–358 (1962).
[CrossRef]

1959

W. S. Stiles, J. M. Burch, “NPL colour-matching investigation: final report,” Opt. Acta 6, 1–26 (1959).
[CrossRef]

1955

G. S. Brindley, “The colour of light of very long wavelength,”J. Physiol. (London) 130, 35–44 (1955).

1951

1943

H. J. A. Dartnall, “The interpretation of spectral sensitivity curves,” Br. Med. Bull 9, 24–30 (1943).

1931

J. Guild, “The colorimetric properties of the spectrum,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. A 230, 149–187 (1931).

1928

W. D. Wright, “A re-determination of the trichromatic coefficients of the spectral colours,” Trans. Opt. Soc. 30, 141–164 (1928–1929).
[CrossRef]

1927

R. Luther, “Aus dem Gebiet der Farbreizmetrik,”Z. Tech. Phys. 8, 540–558 (1927).

1923

K. S. Gibson, E. P. T. Tyndall, “Visibility of radiant energy,” Sci. Pap. Bur. Stand. 19, 131–191 (1923).
[CrossRef]

1918

E. P. Hyde, W. E. Forsythe, F. E. Cady, “The visibility of radiation,” Astrophys. J. 48, 65–88 (1918).
[CrossRef]

W. W. Coblentz, W. B. Emerson, “Relative sensibility of the average eye to light of different colors,” Bull. Bur. Stand. 14, 167–236 (1918).
[CrossRef]

1912

H. E. Ives, “Studies in the photometry of lights of different colours. I. Spectral luminosity curves obtained by the equality of brightness photometer and flicker photometer under similar conditions,” Philos. Mag. Ser. 6 24, 149–188 (1912).
[CrossRef]

Ahnhelt, P. K.

P. K. Ahnhelt, H. Kolb, R. Pflug, “Identification of a subtype of cone photoreceptor, likely to be blue sensitive, in the human retina,”J. Comp. Neurol. 255, 18–34 (1987).
[CrossRef]

Baylor, D. A.

J. L. Schnapf, T. W. Kraft, D. A. Baylor, “Spectral sensitivity of human cone photoreceptors,” Nature 325, 439–441 (1987).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Bowmaker, J. K.

H. J. A. Dartnall, J. K. Bowmaker, J. D. Mollon, “Human visual pigments: microspectrophotometric results from the eyes of seven persons,” Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 220, 115–130 (1983).
[CrossRef]

Boynton, R. M.

R. M. Boynton, “A system of photometry and colorimetry based on cone excitations,” Color Res. Appl. 11, 244–252 (1986).
[CrossRef]

R. M. Boynton, R. T. Eskew, C. X. Olson, “Blue cones contribute to border distinctness,” Vision. Res. 25, 1349–1352 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

R. M. Boynton, N. Kambe, “Chromatic difference steps of moderate size measured along theoretically critical axes,” Color Res. Appl. 5, 13–23 (1980).
[CrossRef]

D. I. A. MacLeod, R. M. Boynton, “Chromaticity diagram showing cone excitation by stimuli of equal luminance,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1183–1186 (1979).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

R. M. Boynton, “Discussion: competing theories of receptor excitation,” Psychol. Bull. 61, 262–267 (1964).
[CrossRef]

P. K. Kaiser, R. M. Boynton, Human Color Vision, 2nd ed. (Optical Society of America, Washington, D.C., 1996).

R. M. Boynton, “Ten years of research with the minimally-distinct border,” in Colour Vision: Physiology and Psycho-physics, J. D. Mollon, L. T. Sharpe, eds. (Academic, London, 1983), pp. 193–206.

R. M. Boynton, Human Color Vision (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1979).

Brindley, G. S.

G. S. Brindley, “The colour of light of very long wavelength,”J. Physiol. (London) 130, 35–44 (1955).

Burch, J. M.

W. S. Stiles, J. M. Burch, “NPL colour-matching investigation: final report,” Opt. Acta 6, 1–26 (1959).
[CrossRef]

J. M. Burch, 1, Fairfield Close, West Byfleet, Surrey KT14 6HT, England (personal communication, September9, 1995).

Cady, F. E.

E. P. Hyde, W. E. Forsythe, F. E. Cady, “The visibility of radiation,” Astrophys. J. 48, 65–88 (1918).
[CrossRef]

Coblentz, W. W.

W. W. Coblentz, W. B. Emerson, “Relative sensibility of the average eye to light of different colors,” Bull. Bur. Stand. 14, 167–236 (1918).
[CrossRef]

Cowan, W. B.

C. Ware, W. B. Cowan, “Specification of heterochromatic brightness matches: a conversion factor for calculating luminances of stimuli that are equal in brightness,” Tech. Rep. 26055 (National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada, 1983).

Dartnall, H. J. A.

H. J. A. Dartnall, J. K. Bowmaker, J. D. Mollon, “Human visual pigments: microspectrophotometric results from the eyes of seven persons,” Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 220, 115–130 (1983).
[CrossRef]

H. J. A. Dartnall, “The interpretation of spectral sensitivity curves,” Br. Med. Bull 9, 24–30 (1943).

H. J. A. Dartnall, “Photosensitivity,” in Handbook of Sensory Physiology, H. J. A. Dartnall, ed. (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1972), Vol. VII/I, pp. 122–145.
[CrossRef]

de Weert, C. M. M.

C. H. Elzinga, C. M. M. de Weert, “Spectral sensitivity functions derived from brightness matching: implications of intensity invariance for color-vision models,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 3, 1183–1191 (1986).
[CrossRef]

Eddy, R. L.

J. Nathans, T. P. Piantanida, R. L. Eddy, T. B. Shows, S. G. Hogness, “Molecular genetics of inherited variation in human color vision,” Science 232, 203–210 (1986).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Elzinga, C. H.

C. H. Elzinga, C. M. M. de Weert, “Spectral sensitivity functions derived from brightness matching: implications of intensity invariance for color-vision models,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 3, 1183–1191 (1986).
[CrossRef]

Emerson, W. B.

W. W. Coblentz, W. B. Emerson, “Relative sensibility of the average eye to light of different colors,” Bull. Bur. Stand. 14, 167–236 (1918).
[CrossRef]

Enoch, J. M.

J. M. Enoch, “Optical properties of the retinal receptors,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 53, 71–85 (1963).
[CrossRef]

J. M. Enoch, W. S. Stiles, “The colour change of monochromatic light with retinal angle of incidence,” Opt. Acta 8, 329–358 (1962).
[CrossRef]

Eskew, R. T.

R. M. Boynton, R. T. Eskew, C. X. Olson, “Blue cones contribute to border distinctness,” Vision. Res. 25, 1349–1352 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Forsythe, W. E.

E. P. Hyde, W. E. Forsythe, F. E. Cady, “The visibility of radiation,” Astrophys. J. 48, 65–88 (1918).
[CrossRef]

Gibson, K. S.

K. S. Gibson, E. P. T. Tyndall, “Visibility of radiant energy,” Sci. Pap. Bur. Stand. 19, 131–191 (1923).
[CrossRef]

Guild, J.

J. Guild, “The colorimetric properties of the spectrum,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. A 230, 149–187 (1931).

Heeley, D. W.

J. Krauskopf, D. R. Williams, D. W. Heeley, “Cardinal directions of color space,” Vision Res. 22, 1123–1131 (1982).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Hogness, S. G.

J. Nathans, T. P. Piantanida, R. L. Eddy, T. B. Shows, S. G. Hogness, “Molecular genetics of inherited variation in human color vision,” Science 232, 203–210 (1986).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Howett, G. L.

G. L. Howett, “Linear opponent-colors model optimized for brightness prediction,” Rep. NBSIR 85-3202 (National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, Md., 1986).

Hyde, E. P.

E. P. Hyde, W. E. Forsythe, F. E. Cady, “The visibility of radiation,” Astrophys. J. 48, 65–88 (1918).
[CrossRef]

Ives, H. E.

H. E. Ives, “Studies in the photometry of lights of different colours. I. Spectral luminosity curves obtained by the equality of brightness photometer and flicker photometer under similar conditions,” Philos. Mag. Ser. 6 24, 149–188 (1912).
[CrossRef]

Johnson, N. E.

Judd, D. B.

D. B. Judd, “Report of U.S. Secretariat Committee on Colorimetry and Artificial Daylight,” in Proceedings of the 12th Session of the CIE, Stockholm, Technical Committee No. 7 (Bureau Central de la CIE, Paris, 1951).

Kaiser, P. K.

K. Uchikawa, H. Uchikawa, P. K. Kaiser, “Luminance and saturation of equally bright colors,” Color Res. Appl. 9, 5–14 (1984).
[CrossRef]

P. K. Kaiser, “Joint Meeting IV,” in Proceedings of the 19th session of the CIE, Kyoto, Japan (Bureau Central de la CIE, Paris, 1980).

P. K. Kaiser, R. M. Boynton, Human Color Vision, 2nd ed. (Optical Society of America, Washington, D.C., 1996).

Kambe, N.

R. M. Boynton, N. Kambe, “Chromatic difference steps of moderate size measured along theoretically critical axes,” Color Res. Appl. 5, 13–23 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Kolb, H.

P. K. Ahnhelt, H. Kolb, R. Pflug, “Identification of a subtype of cone photoreceptor, likely to be blue sensitive, in the human retina,”J. Comp. Neurol. 255, 18–34 (1987).
[CrossRef]

Kraft, T. W.

J. L. Schnapf, T. W. Kraft, D. A. Baylor, “Spectral sensitivity of human cone photoreceptors,” Nature 325, 439–441 (1987).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Krauskopf, J.

J. Krauskopf, D. R. Williams, D. W. Heeley, “Cardinal directions of color space,” Vision Res. 22, 1123–1131 (1982).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Le Grand, Y.

Y. Le Grand, Light, Colour and Vision, 2nd ed., translated by R. W. G. Hunt, J. W. T. Walsh, F. R. W. Hunt (Chapman and Hall, London, 1968).

Luther, R.

R. Luther, “Aus dem Gebiet der Farbreizmetrik,”Z. Tech. Phys. 8, 540–558 (1927).

MacLeod, D. I. A.

Merbs, S. L.

J. Nathans, S. L. Merbs, C.-H. Sung, C. J. Weitz, Y. Wang, “Molecular genetics of human visual pigments,” Ann. Rev. Genet. 26, 403–424 (1992).
[CrossRef]

S. L. Merbs, J. Nathans, “Absorption spectra of human cone pigments,” Nature 356, 433–435 (1992).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Mollon, J. D.

J. D. Mollon, “Worlds of difference,” Nature 356, 378–379 (1992).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

H. J. A. Dartnall, J. K. Bowmaker, J. D. Mollon, “Human visual pigments: microspectrophotometric results from the eyes of seven persons,” Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 220, 115–130 (1983).
[CrossRef]

J. D. Mollon, “Color vision,” Ann. Rev. Psychol. 33, 41–85 (1982).
[CrossRef]

Nathans, J.

S. L. Merbs, J. Nathans, “Absorption spectra of human cone pigments,” Nature 356, 433–435 (1992).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Nathans, S. L. Merbs, C.-H. Sung, C. J. Weitz, Y. Wang, “Molecular genetics of human visual pigments,” Ann. Rev. Genet. 26, 403–424 (1992).
[CrossRef]

J. Nathans, T. P. Piantanida, R. L. Eddy, T. B. Shows, S. G. Hogness, “Molecular genetics of inherited variation in human color vision,” Science 232, 203–210 (1986).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Nickerson, D.

D. Nickerson, “OSA color scale samples: a unique set,” Color Res. Appl. 6, 7–33 (1981).
[CrossRef]

O’Brien, B.

Olson, C. X.

R. M. Boynton, R. T. Eskew, C. X. Olson, “Blue cones contribute to border distinctness,” Vision. Res. 25, 1349–1352 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Pflug, R.

P. K. Ahnhelt, H. Kolb, R. Pflug, “Identification of a subtype of cone photoreceptor, likely to be blue sensitive, in the human retina,”J. Comp. Neurol. 255, 18–34 (1987).
[CrossRef]

Piantanida, T. P.

J. Nathans, T. P. Piantanida, R. L. Eddy, T. B. Shows, S. G. Hogness, “Molecular genetics of inherited variation in human color vision,” Science 232, 203–210 (1986).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

T. P. Piantanida, “The molecular genetics of human color vision: from nucleotides to nanometers,” in Visual Science and Engineering: Models and Applications, D. H. Kelly, ed. (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1994), pp. 229–266.

Pokorny, J.

J. Pokorny, V. C. Smith, “New observations concerning red–green color defects,” Color Res. Appl. 7, 159–164 (1982).
[CrossRef]

V. C. Smith, J. Pokorny, “Spectral sensitivity of the foveal cone photopigments between 400 and 500 nm,” Vision Res. 15, 161–171 (1975).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Schnapf, J. L.

J. L. Schnapf, T. W. Kraft, D. A. Baylor, “Spectral sensitivity of human cone photoreceptors,” Nature 325, 439–441 (1987).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Shows, T. B.

J. Nathans, T. P. Piantanida, R. L. Eddy, T. B. Shows, S. G. Hogness, “Molecular genetics of inherited variation in human color vision,” Science 232, 203–210 (1986).
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Figures (20)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Comparison of CIE luminous-efficiency function V-lambda with the data of four studies upon which it was based. (Adapted from a figure provided by Andrew Stockman.) Open symbols, flicker photometry; filled symbols, step-by-step brightness matching.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Color-matching procedure using primaries of 450, 550, and 650 nm, and the equations that describe the match for a test field of 480 nm. See text for details.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Distribution functions of the CIE 1931 colorimetric system.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Estimates of human cone spectral sensitivities by Smith and Pokorny23 (open symbols) and Vos and Walraven27 (solid curves). (Figure provided by Andrew Stockman.)

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Constant-luminance chromaticity diagram of MacLeod and the author32 based on the Smith–Pokorny fundamentals (Luther diagram).

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

CIE chromaticity diagram. For a fixed luminance, solid lines describe loci of constant S-cone excitation, dashed lines of constant L-cone excitation. In the diagram of Fig. 5, the solid and dashed lines all would intersect at right angles.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Spectral sensitivity measured at the cornea differs from that measured at the retina for a variety of reasons, but absorption in the eye media, particularly in the macula and lens, is the major cause. Adapted from Wyszecki and Stiles,2 pp. 110 and 112.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Estimates of the absorbance spectra of human L, M, and S cones (from Ref. 36).

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

L-, M-, and S-cone fundamentals derived by Stockman, MacLeod, and Johnson.36 All subsequent figures are based on calculations using these functions.

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

The L and M curves of Fig. 9, if suitably weighted, sum to a function that is very similar to the luminous-efficiency function.

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Data of Fig. 10 plotted on a linear, rather than a logarithmic, ordinate. Summation is easier to visualize than in Fig. 10, but details are lost in the tails of the curves.

Fig. 12
Fig. 12

Contributions of L and M cones to unit luminance.

Fig. 13
Fig. 13

Excitation of S cones at constant luminance.

Fig. 14
Fig. 14

Luther diagram, equivalent to Fig. 5 except that the Stockman–MacLeod fundamentals are used instead of those of Smith and Pokorny. The white point would appear to be nearly on the abscissa because so little S-cone excitation is needed to convert from yellow to white.

Fig. 15
Fig. 15

Figure 14 is rescaled, and ordinate values greater than 17 are not shown. This makes the white point somewhat easier to visualize.

Fig. 16
Fig. 16

Rescaling of the leftmost portion of Fig. 14. Tritanopic metamers fall along vertical lines that intersect the spectrum locus twice.

Fig. 17
Fig. 17

Rescaling of the lower right-hand portion of Fig. 14 to show the Brindley isochromes. Vertical lines that intersect the spectrum locus twice would show wavelengths that produce the same L/M cone excitation ratios.

Fig. 18
Fig. 18

Luther diagram modified by using a logarithmic ordinate. This moves the white point nearer to the center of the chart at the expense of introducing severe nonlinearities, as illustrated by the curve (solid diamonds) representing the extraspectral purples.

Fig. 19
Fig. 19

Plot of Fig. 18, modified by adding a small constant before taking the logarithms of ordinate values.

Fig. 20
Fig. 20

Chromaticities of the samples of the CIE Uniform Color Scales at luminance L = 0 plotted in the Luther diagram.

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