Abstract

Computational color constancy is the task of estimating the true reflectances of visible surfaces in an image. In this paper we follow a line of research that assumes uniform illumination of a scene, and that the principal step in estimating reflectances is the estimation of the scene illuminant. We review recent approaches to illuminant estimation, firstly those based on formulae for normalisation of the reflectance distribution in an image — so-called grey-world algorithms, and those based on a Bayesian formulation of image formation. In evaluating these previous approaches we introduce a new tool in the form of a database of 568 high-quality, indoor and outdoor images, accurately labelled with illuminant, and preserved in their raw form, free of correction or normalisation. This has enabled us to establish several properties experimentally. Firstly automatic selection of grey-world algorithms according to image properties is not nearly so effective as has been thought. Secondly, it is shown that Bayesian illuminant estimation is significantly improved by the improved accuracy of priors for illuminant and reflectance that are obtained from the new dataset.

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