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Vision and Color Theory

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Abstract

Twenty four centuries ago, Plato presented in the history of the prisoners in the cave an analogy to human perception. The outline of his theory is that our perception of the world around us consists merely of reflections of the world within us, as captured by our senses and translated by any synthetic procedure performed inside our brains. This theory seems to be basically undeniable today and could be accepted by most. In modern philosophy, psychology and all sciences that deal with vision and visual perception (in medicine and in robotics or mechanics), this reflection is now a basis for developing new theories and methods upon which to build vision theories, or to develop artificial (machine) vision, or to design algorithms to adapt systems to our visual perception and limitations. Since digital image processing (both segmentation and compression that are of concern in this treatise) is evaluated by the human visual system, it seems reasonable to dedicate a chapter to the introduction of this system and the corresponding color theory.

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—I was born before the Age of the ages, in a Place without place, in a Time without time. In a strange way, however, I feel that I existed prior to my birth...My presence counts the eternal.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In a somewhat free translation, this passage would read:

    “I was born before the Age of the ages, in a Place without place, in a Time without time. In a strange way, however, I feel that I existed prior to my birth. Although since then everything has changed, I feel that nothing has changed. My presence counts the eternal.”

  2. 2.

    Directions of rays of light are specified by their deviations from any of the ocular axes in terms of degrees (\(^\circ \) or deg.), minutes (’ or min.) and seconds (”, or sec.) of an angle or arc.

  3. 3.

    As known from digital signal processing, the Nyquist frequency is substantially the frequency at which aliasing starts to appear. That is, a standard grating of a signal \(\cos (2\pi (N/2+f))\) above the Nyquist frequency cannot be distinguished from a signal \(\cos (2\pi (N/2-f))\) that is an equal amount below that frequency. The Nyquist frequency is practically applied as a lower limit of sampling in numerous engineering application, as the frequency twice the maximum frequency in the samples.

  4. 4.

    In an ideal model, cone spacing (center-to-center spacing) should be considered as being larger than an individual cone diameter since there is an infinitesimal but still non-zero space between cone cells.

  5. 5.

    This representation is based on the graph provided by Cornsweet (1970).

  6. 6.

    An analysis on this matter was given in 2003 by Matt Davis in the webpage https://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/personal/matt.davis/Cmabrigde/.

  7. 7.

    Data obtained from the Colour & Vision Research laboratory and database, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, http://www.cvrl.org/cones.htm.

  8. 8.

    Data obtained from the Colour & Vision Research laboratory and database, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, http://www.cvrl.org/cmfs.htm.

  9. 9.

    Linearly independent meaning that none of the three primaries can be written as the linear combination of the other two: \(\sum _k \beta _k P_k({\lambda }) \ne 0\), unless \(\beta _k=0, \forall k\).

  10. 10.

    Figures 1.32, 1.33 and 1.34 were plotted by the Colour toolbox that accompanies the second edition of “Computational Colour Science using MATLAB” (Westland et al. 2012), available for download at http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/40640-computational-colour-science-using-matlab-2e.

  11. 11.

    Figures 1.35, 1.36 and 1.43 were generated using the Colorspace Transformations Toolkit created by Pascal Getreuer (Jan. 2011 edition), available for download at http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/28790-colorspace-transformations.

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Correspondence to George Pavlidis .

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Pavlidis, G. (2017). Vision and Color Theory. In: Mixed Raster Content. Signals and Communication Technology. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-2830-4_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-2830-4_1

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