Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

pp 1-10

Date: Latest Version

Color Constancy

  • Bei XiaoAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, American University Email author 


Chromatic adaptation; White balancing


Color constancy refers to the ability of the human visual system to perceive stable object color, despite significant variation of illumination. Color constancy is also a desired algorithm in machine vision. In image processing, it is widely used in white balancing algorithms. Color constancy has been an active research topic in the past 100 years. For a thorough understanding of this subject, please see the following recent reviews [4, 14, 16, 18, 36, 35, 58, 72].


Figure 1 shows photos of the same scene under two illumination conditions. The right photo was taken in the morning when the dominant light source is the daylight, while the left photo was taken in the evening when the dominant light source is tungsten light. If one were in the scene, one would perceive the mug under both illumination conditions to have the same orange color, though individual pixels from the same location from the mug in two photos appear differe ...

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