Perturbation study of shading in pictures

Jan J. Koenderink, Andrea J. Van Doorn, Chris Christou, Joseph S. Lappin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pictorial relief was measured for a series of pictures of a smooth solid object. The scene was geometrically identical for all pictures, but the rendering was different. Whereas all pictures were monochrome full-scale photographs, they were taken under different illuminations of the scene, the source being frontal and displaced towards either the upper left, the upper right, the lower right, or the lower left. It was found that different illuminations led to significantly different, systematic alterations of pictorial relief. It is concluded that though shape constancy under changes in illumination might be said to rule in the first rough approximation, the deviations from true constancy are indeed both significant and systematic. Different from either stimulus-reduction or cue-conflict paradigms, this 'perturbation analysis' shows that shading is used as an important source of information even if the particular illumination appears to be ignored at first blush. For all subjects, brighter parts in the stimulus were consistently interpreted as being nearer in pictorial space, both for the global layout and for the subsidiary relief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1026
Number of pages18
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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