Colour quality of facial prostheses in additive manufacturing

  • Ali Sohaib
  • Kinjiro Amano
  • Kaida Xiao
  • Julian M. Yates
  • Charles Whitford
  • Sophie Wuerger
Open Access


Recent progress in additive manufacturing technology has improved the realistic colour reproduction of 3D facial prostheses with computational optimisation of skin colour profiles. The colour appearance of the prosthetic surface depends on both the spectral characteristics of the surfaces and the scene illumination. Considering everyday environments, the colours of prosthetic surfaces should appear constant under various illuminations, although such evaluations on facial prostheses have had limited success to date. In this study, colour quality was assessed throughout the additive manufacturing process, namely, from the colour profile optimisation to the colour reproduction on the 3D facial prostheses. Colour profiles optimised for typical skin colour samples were applied to manufacture facial prostheses with two skin types, Caucasian and Chinese. The colour quality was assessed by the colour difference metric CIEDE2000 and spectral similarity against corresponding real skin data. The constant colour appearance of the prosthetic surfaces under different illuminations was estimated by introducing a reproduction colour-constancy index. The CIEDE2000 between the prosthetic and real skins was approximately 7.2 on average over all skin types and facial areas, which is slightly larger than the acceptable perceptual error. The level was relatively constant under different illuminations selected from the CIE standard daylight and fluorescent lights. The reproduction colour-constancy index ranged from 0.34 to 0.89, which is remarkably similar to the level observed in traditional colour constancy data in vision sciences. Spectral errors were close to those obtained by computational spectral reconstruction from digital RGB colours. These results suggest that the proposed colour management for facial prostheses may satisfy the requirement of colour quality in everyday environments with various illuminations. The causes and further improvement of the remaining errors in the manufacturing process are also discussed.


Human facial prostheses 3D colour printing Skin colour, colour management Perceptual error JND DeltaE 



Some of the results were reported at the 17th Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting, 19–24 May 2017, St. Pete Beach, FL., USA.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK (Grants EP/L001012/1 and EP/K040057).

Compliance with ethical standards

All experiments were conducted following approval by the University of Liverpool Research Ethics Committee, which operates in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Signed consent was obtained from each subject who took part in the measurements.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    De Rigal J, Des Mazis I, Diridollou S, Querleux B, Yang G, Leroy F, Barbosa VH (2010) The effect of age on skin color and color heterogeneity in four ethnic groups. Skin Res Technol 16(2):168–178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ramirez GA, Fuentes O, Crites SL, Jimenez M, Ordonez J (2014) Color analysis of facial skin: detection of emotional state. In: 2014 I.E. Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops, 23–28 June 2014. pp 474–479. doi:
  3. 3.
    Chen T, Yuen P, Richardson M, Liu G, She Z (2014) Detection of psychological stress using a hyperspectral imaging technique. IEEE Trans Affect Comput 5(4):391–405. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Da Pos, Green-Armytage P (2007) Facial expressions, colours and basic emotions. J Int Colour Assoc 1(2):1–20Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frith C (2009) Role of facial expressions in social interactions. Philos Trans R Soc Lond Ser B Biol Sci 364(1535):3453–3458. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Changizi MA, Zhang Q, Shimojo S (2006) Bare skin, blood and the evolution of primate colour vision. Biol Lett 2(2):217–221. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jimenez J, Scully T, Barbosa N, Donner C, Alvarez X, Vieira T, Matts P, Orvalho V, Gutierrez D, Weyrich T (2010) A practical appearance model for dynamic facial color. ACM Trans Graph 29(6):141. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Paravina RD, Majkic G, Del Mar PM, Kiat-amnuay S (2009) Color difference thresholds of maxillofacial skin replications. J Prosthodont 18(7):618–625. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Xiao K, Zardawi F, van Noort R, Yates JM (2014) Developing a 3D colour image reproduction system for additive manufacturing of facial prostheses. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 70(9–12):2043–2049. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Xiao K, Wuerger S, Mostafa F, Sohaib A, Yates JM (2016) Colour image reproduction for 3D printing facial prostheses. New trends in 3D printing. InTech.
  11. 11.
    MacGreggor FC (1951) Some psycho-social problems associated with facial deformities. Am Sociol Rev 16(5):629–638. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bailey LW, Edwards D (1975) Psychological considerations in maxillofacial prosthetics. J Prosthet Dent 34(5):533–538. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gillis RE Jr, Swenson WM, Laney WR (1979) Psychological factors involved in maxillofacial prosthetics. J Prosthet Dent 41(2):183–188. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sachs E, Vezzetti E (2005) Numerical simulation of deposition process for a new 3DP printhead design. J Mater Process Technol 161(3):509–515. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Curodeau A, Sachs E, Caldarise S (2000) Design and fabrication of cast orthopedic implants with freeform surface textures from 3-D printed ceramic shell. J Biomed Mater Res 53(5):525–535.<525::AID-JBM12>3.0.CO;2-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zardawi FM, Xiao K, van Noort R, Yates JM (2015) Investigation of elastomer infiltration into 3D printed facial soft tissue prostheses. Anaplastology 4(1):2161–1173. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hungerford E, Beatty MW, Marx DB, Simetich B, Wee AG (2013) Coverage error of commercial skin pigments as compared to human facial skin tones. J Dent 41(11):986–991. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Xiao K, Zardawi F, van Noort R, Yates JM (2013) Color reproduction for advanced manufacture of soft tissue prostheses. J Dent 41(Suppl 5):e15–e23. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Zardawi FM, Xiao K, van Noort R, Yates JM (2015) Mechanical properties of 3D printed facial prostheses compared to handmade silicone polymer prostheses. Eur Sci J 11(12):1–11Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pantone LLC (2012) PANTONE SkinTone™ Guide. Carlstadt, NJ, USAGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Xiao K, Yates JM, Zardawi F, Sueeprasan S, Liao N, Gill L, Li C, Wuerger S (2017) Characterising the variations in ethnic skin colours: a new calibrated data base for human skin. Skin Res Technol 23(1):21–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gozalo-Diaz DJ, Lindsey DT, Johnston WM, Wee AG (2007) Measurement of color for craniofacial structures using a 45/0-degree optical configuration. J Prosthet Dent 97(1):45–53. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zonios G, Bykowski J, Kollias N (2001) Skin melanin, hemoglobin, and light scattering properties can be quantitatively assessed in vivo using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. J Invest Dermatol 117(6):1452–1457. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Anderson RR, Parrish JA (1981) The optics of human skin. J Invest Dermatol 77(1):13–19. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Park J-H, Lee Y-K, Lim B-S (2006) Influence of illuminants on the color distribution of shade guides. J Prosthet Dent 96(6):402–411. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    CIE, Technical Committee 1–48 (2004) Colorimetry, 3rd edn. Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Sharma G, Wu W, Dalal EN (2005) The CIEDE2000 color-difference formula: implementation notes, supplementary test data, and mathematical observations. Color Res Appl 30(1):21–30. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sweet J, Granahan J, M. Sharp (2000) An objective standard for hyperspectral image quality. In: Proceedings of AVIRIS workshop, jet propulsion laboratory, Pasadena, California. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Shrestha R, Pillay R, George S, Hardeberg JY (2014) Quality evaluation in spectral imaging—quality factors and metrics. J Int Colour Assoc 12:22–35Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gozalo-Diaz D, Johnston WM, Wee AG (2008) Estimating the color of maxillary central incisors based on age and gender. J Prosthet Dent 100(2):93–98. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Koran A, Powers JM, Raptis CN, Yu R (1981) Reflection spectrophotometry of facial skin. J Dent Res 60(6):979–982. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Caisey L, Grangeat F, Lemasson A, Talabot J, Voirin A (2006) Skin color and makeup strategies of women from different ethnic groups. Int J Cosmet Sci 28(6):427–437. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hong G, Luo MR, Rhodes PA (2001) A study of digital camera colorimetric characterization based on polynomial modeling. Color Res Appl 26(1):76–84.<76::AID-COL8>3.0.CO;2-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Chauhan T, Xiao K, Yates J, Wuerger S (2015) Estimating discrimination ellipsoids for skin images. J Vis 15(12):820. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ahn J-S, Lee Y-K (2008) Color distribution of a shade guide in the value, chroma, and hue scale. J Prosthet Dent 100(1):18–28. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lee Y-K, Yu B, Lim H-N (2010) Lightness, chroma, and hue distributions of a shade guide as measured by a spectroradiometer. J Prosthet Dent 104(3):173–181. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Melgosa M, Alman DH, Grosman M, Gómez-Robledo L, Trémeau A, Cui G, García PA, Vázquez D, Li C, Luo MR (2013) Practical demonstration of the CIEDE2000 corrections to CIELAB using a small set of sample pairs. Color Res Appl 38(6):429–436. Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    CIE (2008) CIE Standard llluminants for Colorimetry. S 014-2/E:2006/ISO 11664-2:2007(E). Commission Internationale de L'Eclairage, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Arend LE, Reeves A, Schirillo J, Goldstein R (1991) Simultaneous color constancy: papers with diverse Munsell values. J Opt Soc Am A 8(4):661–672. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Amano K, Sohaib A, Xiao K, Yates JM, Whitford C, Wuerger SM (2017) Color quality assessments of 3D facial prostheses in varying illuminations. Paper presented at the Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting, St Pete Beach, 19-24 May 2017Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wang M, Xiao K, Luo R, Zhu Y, Wuerger S Investigation of uncertainty of skin colour measurements. In: Proceedings of the 28th Session of the CIE, 28 June - 4 July 2015, Manchester, UK, 07/01/2015Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Xiao K, Zhu Y, Li C, Connah D, Yates JM, Wuerger S (2016) Improved method for skin reflectance reconstruction from camera images. Opt Express 24(13):14934–14950. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Xiao K, Wang M, Luo R, Li C, Wuerger S (2016) Characterisation of skin spectra in a Caucasian and Oriental sample. Electron Imaging 2016(20):1–4. Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sinthanayothin C, Bholsithi W (2005) Image warping based on 3D thin plate spline. Paper presented at the International Conference on Information Technology in Asia 2005, Sarawak, Malaysia., December 12-15, 2005Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Foster DH (2011) Color constancy. Vis Res 51(7):674–700. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Alkawaz MH, Mohamad D, Saba T, Basori AH, Rehman A (2015) The correlation between blood oxygenation effects and human emotion towards facial skin colour of virtual human. 3D. Research 6(2):13. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Sohaib
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kinjiro Amano
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kaida Xiao
    • 4
    • 5
  • Julian M. Yates
    • 1
  • Charles Whitford
    • 6
  • Sophie Wuerger
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Medical Sciences, Division of DentistryUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.School of Science & TechnologyNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK
  3. 3.School of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  4. 4.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  5. 5.The School of DesignUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  6. 6.School of EngineeringUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations