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Simulating the Visual Experience of Very Bright and Very Dark Scenes

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The human visual system can operate in a wide range of illumination levels due to several adaptation processes working in concert. For the most part, these adaptation mechanisms are transparent, leaving the observer unaware of his or her absolute adaptation state. At extreme illumination levels, however, some of these mechanisms produce perceivable secondary effects, or epiphenomena. In bright light, these include bleaching afterimages and adaptation afterimages, while in dark conditions these include desaturation, loss of acuity, mesopic hue shift, and the Purkinje effect. In this work we examine whether displaying these effects explicitly can be usedto extend the apparent dynamic range of aconventional computer display.Wepresent phenomenological models for each effect, describe efficient computer graphics methods for rendering our models, and propose a gaze-adaptive display that injects the effects into imagery on a standard computer monitor. Finally, we report the results of psychophysical experiments which reveal that, while mesopic epiphenomena are a strong cue that a stimulus is very dark, afterimages have little impact on the perception that a stimulus is very bright.

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