Time-dependent visual adaptation for fast realistic image display

S. N. Pattanaik*, J. Tumblin, H. Yee, D. P. Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

160 Scopus citations


Human vision takes time to adapt to large changes in scene intensity, and these transient adjustments have a profound effect on visual appearance. This paper offers a new operator to include these appearance changes in animations or interactive real-time simulations, and to match a user's visual responses to those the user would experience in a real-world scene. Large, abrupt changes in scene intensities can cause dramatic compression of visual responses, followed by a gradual recovery of normal vision. Asymmetric mechanisms govern these time-dependent adjustments, and offer adaptation to increased light that is much more rapid than adjustment to darkness. We derive a new tone reproduction operator that simulates these mechanisms. The operator accepts a stream of scene intensity frames and creates a stream of color display images. All operator components are derived from published quantitative measurements from physiology, psychophysics, color science, and photography. Kept intentionally simple to allow fast computation, the operator is meant for use with real-time walk-through renderings, high dynamic range video cameras, and other interactive applications. We demonstrate its performance on both synthetically generated and acquired "real-world" scenes with large dynamic variations of illumination and contrast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Computer Graphics
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
EventSIGGRAPH 2000 - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Jul 23 2000Jul 28 2000


OtherSIGGRAPH 2000
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA


  • Adaptation model
  • Background intensity
  • Realistic image display
  • Rendering
  • Time course of adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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