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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Stephen A. Burns
  • Vol. 26, Iss. 5 — May. 1, 2009
  • pp: 1119–1128

Transparency and imaginary colors

Whitman Richards, Jan J. Koenderink, and Andrea van Doorn  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 26, Issue 5, pp. 1119-1128 (2009)

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Unlike the Metelli monochrome transparencies, when overlays and their backgrounds have chromatic content, the inferred surface colors may not always be physically realizable, and are in some sense “imaginary.” In these cases, the inferred chromatic transmittance or reflectance of the overlay lies outside the RGB spectral boundaries. Using the classical Metelli configuration, we demonstrate this illusion and briefly explore some of its attributes. Some observer differences in perceiving transparencies are also highlighted. These results show that the perception of transparency is much more complex than conventionally envisioned.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(290.7050) Scattering : Turbid media
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
(330.5020) Vision, color, and visual optics : Perception psychology
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(330.7310) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision
(350.2450) Other areas of optics : Filters, absorption

ToC Category:
Vision, Color, and Visual Optics

Original Manuscript: November 20, 2008
Revised Manuscript: February 7, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: February 9, 2009
Published: April 7, 2009

Virtual Issues
Vol. 4, Iss. 7 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Whitman Richards, Jan J. Koenderink, and Andrea van Doorn, "Transparency and imaginary colors," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 26, 1119-1128 (2009)

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