Roy Berns


RIT community members may access full-text via RIT Libraries licensed databases: A review of the human visual system, the CIE L*,a*,b*color space and its use in evaluating color image quality, and digital image capture is presented,the goal of which is to provide background information for imaging professionals involved in creating digital image databases for museums, galleries, archives, and libraries. Following this review,an analysis was performed to determine the effects of bit depth, dynamic range,gamma correction,and color correction on the ability to estimate colorimetric data from R,G,B digital images with a minimum of error.The proper use of gray scale and color targets was also considered. Recommendations are presented for the direct digital image capture of paintings. Finally, a brief look into the future using spectral imaging techniques is presented.

Publication Date



This publication was written while the author was a Senior Fellow in Conservation Science at the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Gallery’s financial support is sincerely appreciated. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Janet Bliburg, Lorene Emerson, and Lyle Peterzell in collecting digital and conventional images, and Ross Merrill in producing the artist oil paint chart, all of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Finally, the following imaging professionals were very helpful in reviewing manuscripts and providing the benefits of their extensive experiences: Franziska Frey, Image Permanence Institute; Connie McCabe, National Gallery of Art; Edward Giorgianni, Eastman Kodak Company; Mike Collette, Better Light; John Stokes, Stokes Imaging; Michael Stokes, Microsoft Corporation; and Francisco Imai, Munsell Color Science Laboratory. Francisco Imai also performed the spectral estimations. Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus