24 February 2014 On pictures and stuff: image quality and material appearance
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Abstract
Realistic images are a puzzle because they serve as visual representations of objects while also being objects themselves. When we look at an image we are able to perceive both the properties of the image and the properties of the objects represented by the image. Research on image quality has typically focused improving image properties (resolution, dynamic range, frame rate, etc.) while ignoring the issue of whether images are serving their role as visual representations. In this paper we describe a series of experiments that investigate how well images of different quality convey information about the properties of the objects they represent. In the experiments we focus on the effects that two image properties (contrast and sharpness) have on the ability of images to represent the gloss of depicted objects. We found that different experimental methods produced differing results. Specifically, when the stimulus images were presented using simultaneous pair comparison, observers were influenced by the surface properties of the images and conflated changes in image contrast and sharpness with changes in object gloss. On the other hand, when the stimulus images were presented sequentially, observers were able to disregard the image plane properties and more accurately match the gloss of the objects represented by the different quality images. These findings suggest that in understanding image quality it is useful to distinguish between quality of the imaging medium and the quality of the visual information represented by that medium.
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James A. Ferwerda, "On pictures and stuff: image quality and material appearance", Proc. SPIE 9018, Measuring, Modeling, and Reproducing Material Appearance, 90180I (24 February 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2036501; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2036501
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