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David Kane, Marcelo Bertalmío; System gamma as a function of image- and monitor-dynamic range. Journal of Vision 2016;16(6):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.6.4.
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System gamma is the end-to-end exponent that describes the relationship between the relative luminance values at capture and the reproduced image. The system gamma preferred by subjects is known to vary with the background luminance condition and the image in question. We confirm the previous two findings using an image database with both high and low dynamic range images (from 102 to 107), but also find that the preferred system gamma varies with the dynamic range of the monitor (CRT, LCD, or OLED). We find that the preferred system gamma can be predicted in all conditions and for all images by a simple model that searches for the value that best flattens the lightness distribution, where lightness is modeled as a power law of onscreen luminance. To account for the data, the exponent must vary with the viewing conditions. The method presented allows the inference of lightness perception in natural scenes without direct measurement and makes testable predictions for how lightness perception varies with the viewing condition and the distribution of luminance values in a scene. The data from this paper has been made available online.
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