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Volume: 12 | Article ID: art00007
Mechanism of Color Constancy
  DOI :  10.2352/CIC.2004.12.1.art00007  Published OnlineJanuary 2004

There are two widely held theories of color constancy based on very different mechanisms: Chromatic Adaptation and Spatial Comparisons. Chromatic Adaptation is based on the change of retinal sensitivity in response to changes in incident light. The Spatial Comparisons mechanism is insensitive to illumination changes because it uses ratios of radiance from different pixels in the image. A spatially uniform increase in long-wave light increases both the numerator and the denominator by the same factor, so that the ratio remains constant. Spatial Comparisons of all pixels in the image synthesize a constant image, when the long-, middle-, and short-wave images are processed independently.Measurements of color appearance in constancy experiments have shown that there are small consistent departures from perfect constancy. This paper measures the color and magnitude of these departures from perfect color constancy. It tests the hypothesis that these departures provide a signature of the underlying constancy mechanism. Since Chromatic Adaptation mechanism is specific for illumination, then these departures are predicted to be the same, regardless of the color of the paper. Since the Spatial Comparisons mechanism is based on the Integrated Reflectance of the paper, gray papers should show greater constancy than colored papers. In other words, the signature of Chromatic Adaptation is constant departures for each illumination, while the signature of Spatial Comparisons is variable departures for each reflectance. This paper measures the color matches for a yellow, a purple and a gray paper in 27 different illuminants.

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John McCann, "Mechanism of Color Constancyin Proc. IS&T 12th Color and Imaging Conf.,  2004,  pp 29 - 36,

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