Changes in color appearance with retinal illuminance were studied by scaling the achromatic, yellow, and blue sensation components for test lights with color temperatures from 3041 to 8650 K at 4.10, 2.18, and 0.33 log Td. At 4.10 log Td two observers showed similar pure whites (4823 and 5258 K) and narrow transition zones (1502 and 969 K) from yellow to blue chromatic response categories. The relative amounts of yellow, blue, and white varied with color temperature in a similar manner for both observers. One observer maintained similar absolute whites and transition zones for all illuminances. For the second observer the transition zone broadened and shifted to higher color temperatures as illuminance decreased. At color temperatures both above and below the transition zone chromatic saturation was greatest at the intermediate illuminance. The loss of saturation at 0.33 and 4.10 log Td is consistent with the observation that as the illuminance of a spectral color is raised above threshold, saturation increases to a maximum and then falls. Our findings reinforce the notion that at relatively low illuminances chromatic responses increase with increasing illuminance more rapidly than achromatic responses and that the opposite is true at high illuminances.
© 1993 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 14, 1992
Revised Manuscript: December 1, 1992
Manuscript Accepted: October 14, 1992
Published: May 1, 1993
Charles E. Sternheim and Bruce Drum, "Achromatic and chromatic sensation as a function of color temperature and retinal illuminance," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10, 838-843 (1993)