Matching illumination of solid objects

Sylvia C. Pont*, Jan J. Koenderink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The appearance of objects is determined by their surface reflectance and roughness and by the light field. Conversely, human observers might derive properties of the light field from the appearance of objects. The inverse problem has no unique solution, so perceptual interactions between reflectance, roughness, and light field are to be expected. In two separate experiments, we tested whether observers are able to match the illumination of spheres under collimated illumination only (matching of illumination direction) and under more or less diffuse illumination (matching of illumination direction and directedness of the beam). We found that observers are quite able to match collimated illumination directions of two rendered Lambertian spheres. Matching of the collimated beam directions of a Lambertian sphere and that of a real object with arbitrary reflectance and roughness properties resulted in similar results for the azimuthal angle, but in higher variance for the polar angle. Translucent objects and a tennis ball were found to be systematic outliers. If the directedness of the beam was also varied, the direction settings showed larger variance for more diffuse illumination. The directedness settings showed an overall quite large variance and, interestingly, interacted with the polar angle settings. We discuss possible photometrical mechanisms behind these effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


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