In an effort to create more dynamic looking automobiles, there is an ever increasing trend among automobile manufacturers towards the use of gonio-apparent coatings in car bodies. These coatings consist of transparent pigments mixed with metallic or interference flakes. The flakes in the coating cause a change in color and brightness of the finish with viewing and illumination direction. This change in appearance accentuates the 3D shading of a car body, making it visually more attractive. Besides this angular dependence on viewing/illumination direction, the metallic finishes also exhibit a visually complex texture. Depending on the properties of the finish and the viewing and illumination conditions, the flakes exhibit a sparkle like texture, while the glossy clear coat may show a rough or smooth surface. As a result of these complex visual attributes, capturing the appearance and finding a perfect color match for an automotive coating is a non trivial task. The main objective of this work is to evaluate the relationship between the special-effect pigments size, and the maximum distance which is detectable the sparkle texture effect. For this, two different sets of samples with different structural features were evaluated in a lighting booth specifically designed for the visual experiment. The booth allows to vary the lighting conditions, the viewing geometry and the distance at which the sample is perceived. The visual experiment was applied to evaluate the high correlation between a structural parameter (i.e. pigment size) and the visual appearance attribute related with texture (sparkle detection distance). Under some fixed environmental conditions, as light intensity, color temperature and geometry of the light source, the sparkle detection distance was evaluated by applying the adjustment psychophysical method for two panel sets (metallic grays and blues), with known pigment sizes and colorimetry, with a small set of observers. The visual results show that a greater the pigment size, a greater the sparkle detection, but with some considerations. In future, we will extend this method, even reinforced applying the statistical design of experiments (DOE), for understanding the relevance and interplay of structural (size, shape, concentration, orientation, etc.), environmental (illuminance level, color rendering, geometry, etc.) and colorimetric (dark vs. light background, chroma, etc.) factors on the sparkle detection distance.
Omar Gómez, Esther Perales, Elísabet Chorro, Valentín Viqueira, Francisco M. Martínez-Verdú, Alejandro Ferrero, Joaquín Campos, "Influence of the Effect Pigment Size on the Sparkle Detection Distance" in Proc. IS&T 23rd Color and Imaging Conf., 2015, pp 175 - 179, https://doi.org/10.2352/CIC.2015.23.1.art00031