Colour constancy in simple and complex scenes
Colour constancy is defined as the ability to perceive the surface colours of objects within scenes as approximately constant through changes in scene illumination. Colour constancy in real life functions so seamlessly that most people do not realise that the colour of the light emanating from an object can change markedly throughout the day. Constancy measurements made in simple scenes constructed from flat coloured patches do not produce constancy of this high degree. The question that must be asked is: what are the features of everyday scenes that improve constancy? A novel technique is presented for testing colour constancy. Results are presented showing measurements of constancy in simple and complex scenes. More specifically, matching experiments are performed for patches against uniform and multi-patch backgrounds, the latter of which provide colour contrast. Objects created by the addition of shape and 3-D shading information are also matched against backgrounds consisting of matte reflecting patches. In the final set of experiments observers match detailed depictions of objects - rich in chromatic contrast, shading, mutual illumination and other real life features - within depictions of real life scenes. The results show similar performance across the conditions that contain chromatic contrast, although some uncertainty still remains as to whether the results are indicative of human colour constancy performance or to sensory match capabilities. An interesting division exists between patch matches performed against uniform and multi-patch backgrounds that is manifested as a shift in CIE xy space. A simple model of early chromatic processes is proposed and examined in the context of the results.