Investigating shape-from-shading illusions using solid objects

A. Johnston, William Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Recent growth in the shape-from-shading psychophysics literature has been paralled by an increasing availability of computer graphics hardware and software, to the extent that most psychophysical studies in this area now employ computer lighting algorithms. The most widely used of algorithms is shape-from-shading psychophysics is the Phong lighting model. This model, and other shading models of its genre, produce readily ineterpretable imiages of three-dimensional scenes. However, such algorithms are only approximations of how light interacts with real objects in the natural environment. Nevertheless, the results from psychophysical experiments using these techniques have been used to infer the processes underlying the perception of shape-from-shading in natural environments. It is important to establish whether this substitution is ever valid. We report a series of experiments investigating whether two recently reported illusions seen computer-generated, Phond shaded images occur for solid objects under real illuminants. The two illusions investigated are three-dimensional curvature contrast and the illuminant-position effect on perceived curvature. We show that both effects do occur for solid objects, and that the magnitude of these effects are equivalent regardless of whether subjects are presented with ray traced or solid objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2827-2835
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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