• Color Transparency: Geometry, Motion, Color, Scission, and Induction

      Huang, Zhehao (2024-03-30)
      Objects that pass light through are considered transparent, and we generally expect that the light coming out will match the perceived color of the object. However, when the object is placed on a colored surface, the light coming back to our eyes becomes a composite of surface, illumination, and transparency properties. Despite that, we can often perceive separate overlaid and overlaying layers differing in colors. How neurons separate the information to extract the transparent layer remains unknown, but physical characteristics of transparent filters generate geometrical and color features in retinal images which could provide cues for separating layers. We estimated the relative importance of such cues in a perceptual scale for transparency, using stimuli in which X or T-junctions, different relative motions, and color consistency, cooperated or competed in forced-preference psychophysics experiments. Maximum-likelihood Thurstone scaling revealed some new results: moving X-junctions increased transparency compared to static X-junctions, but moving T-junctions decreased transparency compared to static T-junctions by creating the percept of an opaque patch. However, if the motion of a filter uncovered a dynamically changing but stationary pattern, sharing common fate with the surround but forming T-junctions, the probability of seeing transparency was almost as high as for moving X-junctions, despite the stimulus being physically improbable. In addition, geometric cues overrode color inconsistency to a great degree. Finally, a linear model of transparency perception as a function of relative motions between filter, overlay, and surround layers, contour continuation, and color consistency, quantified a hierarchy of latent influences on when the filter is seen as a separate transparent layer. Previous measurements of color scission have limitations. The color adjustment to match the target color is relatively accurate but time consuming and suffers from long time adaptation bias. Force-choice judgment is quick and free from adaptation effect, but the selection of choices can be the source of bias. We examine the observers’ ability to estimate filter color with transparency with our improved method: we ask observers to make a judgement of the transparency region being red or green (or, blue/yellow). By doing this we found the neutral point of the filter that the observers think colorless. The result showed that, in color consistent conditions, though biased by the background or individual preference, the observers’ measured neutral filter settings were close to the colorless filter, showing relatively good color scission. In the color inconsistent conditions, the observers matched the overlaid region to a neutral color, as if the observers were attributing the average color of the overlaid region completely to the transparency. Veridicality of scission varied little in the color consistent conditions, despite the large variation in degree of perceived transparency. An exception to the rule that only one color is seen at every retinotopic location happens when a bounded colored transparency or spotlight is seen on a differently colored surface. Despite the spectrum of the light from each retinotopic location being an inextricable multiplication of illumination, transmission, and reflectance spectra, we seem to be able to scission the information into background and transparency/spotlight colors. Visual cues to separating overlay and overlaid layers have been enumerated, but neural mechanisms that extract veridical colors for overlays have not been identified. Here, we demonstrate that spatial induction contributes to color scission by shifting the color of the overlay toward the actual color of the filter. By alternating filter and illumination spectra, we present naturalistic simulations where isomeric disks appear to be covered by filters/spotlights of near veridical colors, depending solely on the surrounding illumination.