Modeling Luminance Perception at Absolute Threshold

Petr Kellnhofer1 Tobias Ritschel1,2 Karol Myszkowski1 Elmar Eisemann3 Hans-Peter Seidel1
1MPI Informatik 2Saarland University 3Delft University of Technology

Proceedings of Eurographics Symposium on Rendering 2015, Darmstadt, 24-26th June 2015

When human luminance perception operates close to its absolute threshold, i.e. the lowest perceivable absolute values, appearance changes substantially compared to common photopic or scotopic vision. In particular, most observers report perceiving temporally-varying noise. Two reasons are physiologically plausible; quantum noise (due to the low absolute number of photons) and spontaneous photochemical reactions. Previously, static noise with a normal distribution and no account for absolute values was combined with blue hue shift and blur to simulate scotopic appearance on a photopic display for movies and interactive applications (e.g., games). We present a computational model to reproduce the specific distribution and dynamics of "scotopic noise" for specific absolute values. It automatically introduces a perceptually-calibrated amount of noise for a specific luminance level and supports animated imagery. Our simulation runs in milliseconds at HD resolution using graphics hardware and favorably compares to simpler alternatives in a perceptual experiment.

If your browser does not support it, you can open the file video.mp4 in your video player.
The noise was optimized for 1:1 pixel mapping on common LCD screen seen from 60 cm. Therefore, it is preferred to view it in a window mode. The video uses x264 codec. The easiest way to play it is using VLC Player. Alternative source for the video is the YouTube copy but we cannot guarantee proper noise reproduction there.


Paper (5.3 MiB).
Supplemental (310 KiB).
Supplemental video (197 MiB).
EGSR 2015 presentation slides (72.6 MiB).
Inverse CDF Lookups (6 MiB)


Petr Kellnhofer, Tobias Ritschel, Karol Myszkowski, Elmar Eisemann, Hans-Peter Seidel
Modeling Luminance Perception at Absolute Threshold
Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. EGSR 2015), 2015.

  author = { 
	Petr Kellnhofer and
	Tobias Ritschel and 
	Karol Myszkowski and 
	Elmar Eisemann and
	Hans-Peter Seidel},
  title = {Modeling Luminance Perception at Absolute Threshold},
  journal = {Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. EGSR 2015)},
  year = {2015},
  volume = {34},
  number = {4},
  pages = {155--164},
  publisher = {The Eurographics Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.},
  issn = {1467-8659},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1111/cgf.12687}

Computer Graphics Forum © 2015 The Eurographics Association and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of EUROGRAPHICS / Blackwell Publishing for your personal use. Not for redistribution.
The definitive version was published in at and