Observer preferences in the color reproduction of pictorial images have been a topic of debate for many years. Through a series of three psychophysical experiments we are trying to better understand the differences and trends in observer preferences for pictorial images, determine if cultural biases on preference exist, and finally generate a set of preferred color reproduced images for future experimentation and evaluation. The first experiment was a survey of observers rating the importance of commonly used image characteristics terms in correlation to color image quality. The data collected demonstrated that observer preferences remain relatively constant while judging color attributes between different media and for various image content. Experiment I also aided in the decision to utilize five dimensions of manipulation to generate preferred color reproductions, for Experiments II and in. The dimensions were, lightness (gamma adjustment to L*), contrast (sigmoid adjustment to L*), chroma (multiplicative factor on Cab* at a given hab), hue rotation, and color balance (additive adjustments to a* and b*). The second experiment was a rank order of image preference conducted at several research facilities around the world. The results yielded that statistical difference between peak preferences of image quality between cultures may exist but that the cultural difference is most likely not of practical significance for most applications. Furthermore, the shape of the preference curves across cultures is very similar so any cultural bias present is small. The final experiment was an adjustment experiment, in which observers were asked to generate the most preferred image possible. The observer variability (inter-observers) and repeatability (intra-observer) in generating preferred images were analyzed. The analysis of Experiment HI yielded that the intra-observer repeatability of an observer is about half of the variation between observers. Furthermore the analysis demonstrated that preferences on images with faces have a much tighter range of preference in comparison to images without faces. Finally, a cross analysis of Experiment II and HI was completed by the generation of preferred image sets from the results of the two experiments. The resultant images proved to be a good visualization of the range of variability in making preferred images from the color dimensions provided, and also visually demonstrated that the two techniques, (making one color adjustment at a time verses compounding color adjustments) of generating preferred images result in similar solutions.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Color printing--Digital techniques; Image processing--Digital techniques
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Fernandez, Scot, "Preferences and tolerances in color image reproduction" (2002). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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