The perceived transmittance of inhomogeneous surfaces and media
Barton Anderson, Manish Singh, and Jeanette Meng
Vision Research, 46, 1982-1995 (2006)


A series of experiments was performed to determine how the visual system computes the transmittance of inhomogeneous surfaces and media. Previous work (Anderson,1999; 2003) has suggested that the visual system employs a transmittance anchoring principle in determining when transparency is perceived. This principle states that the visual system interprets the highest contrast region along contours and surfaces as a region in plain view and uses this anchor as a reference point for transparency computations. In particular, recent work has shown that the transmittance of homogeneous transparent surfaces is well described by a ratio of contrasts model (Singh & Anderson, 2002). In this model, the transmittance of a transparent surface is determined by the contrast of a transparent image region normalized by the contrast of the region in plain view. Here, a series of experiments is reported that assesses this model for inhomogeneous transparent surfaces that vary in both space and time. The results of these experiments reveal that transmittance anchoring has both a spatial and temporal component, and that the perceived transmittance of transparent surfaces is well described by a ratio of perceived contrasts model.