Computational Uses of Colour
Funt, B. and Cardei, V., "Computational Uses of Colour,"
Color Perception: Philosophical, Psychological, Artistic and Computational Perspectives, Vancouver Studies in Cognitive Science Vol 9, ed. S. Davis, Oxford University Press, 2000
Why do we have colour? What use is it to us? Some of the obvious answers are that we see
colour so that we can recognise objects, spot objects more quickly, tell when fruit is ripe or
rotten. These reasons make a lot of sense, but are there others? In this paper, we explore the
things that colour makes easier for computational vision systems. In particular, we examine the
role of colour in understanding specularities, processing interreflections, identifiying metals from
plastics and wet surfaces from dry ones, choosing foveation points, disambiguating stereo
matches, discriminating textures and identifying objects. Of course, what is easier for a
computational vision system is not necessarily the same for the human visual system but it can
perhaps help us create some hypotheses about the role of colour in human perception. We also
consider the role of colour constancy in terms of whether or not it is required for colour to be
useful to a computer vision system.
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