The final step of many picture storage applications is an image display to be viewed by a human observer. It is therefore worthwhile to take into account the basic properties of the visual system in order to develop efficient and economical solutions for picture storage. This paper gives an overview of such characteristics of the visual perception process which are relevant for image coding and display. The visual system is considered as an image analyzer comprising an optical part (the eye) and neuronal image processing stages (retina and brain). Based on results from psychophysics and neurophysiology, some perceptual effects of visual image processing are demonstrated and the spatial filtering characteristics of human vision are examined.