A large-scale investigation into the perception of contrast in color images was performed. Psychophysical experiments were performed to determine the influence of image lightness, chroma, and sharpness transforms on perceived image contrast and observer preference. The influence of these transforms on perceived contrast was investigated separately by independent soft copy, paired comparison tests of contrast perception and image preference. The perception of contrast across transformations was also investigated, as was the perception of image contrast relative to the most preferred image manipulation. In all, four experiments of contrast perception and image preference were performed by at least thirty-two observers each. Results of the lightness, chroma, and sharpness-contrast experiments indicate perceived image contrast is a function of multiple image characteristics as opposed to simply being a function of the dynamic range of image intensity. In the lightness-contrast experiments, images of identical white and black points were scaled to have significant differences in contrast based on their manipulations from the original image. In the chroma-contrast experiments, images of identical lightness channels were scaled to have significant differences in perceived contrast due to relative chroma amount. In the sharpness-contrast experiments, images of identical white and black points were scaled to have significantly different levels of perceived contrast due to sharpness. In the scale-linking experiment, it was found that images of the above manipulations could be scaled similarly for perceived contrast. All scales of perceived contrast and image preference were found to be image independent among pictorial images, regardless of observer experience.

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This article may be accessed on the publisher's website (additional fees may apply) at: http://www.imaging.org/store/epub.cfm?abstrid=30117 ISSN:1062-3701 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

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Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus