Designing color filters that make cameras more colorimetric

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When we place a colored filter in front of a camera the effective camera response functions are equal to the given camera spectral sensitivities multiplied by the filter spectral transmittance. In this article, we solve for the filter which returns the modified sensitivities as close to being a linear transformation from the color matching functions of the human visual system as possible. When this linearity condition - sometimes called the Luther condition- is approximately met, the 'camera+filter' system can be used for accurate color measurement. Then, we reformulate our filter design optimisation for making the sensor responses as close to the CIEXYZ tristimulus values as possible given the knowledge of real measured surfaces and illuminants spectra data. This data-driven method in turn is extended to incorporate constraints on the filter (smoothness and bounded transmission). Also, because how the optimisation is initialised is shown to impact on the performance of the solved-for filters, a multi-initialisation optimisation is developed. Experiments demonstrate that, by taking pictures through our optimised color filters, we can make cameras significantly more colorimetric.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9266578
Pages (from-to)853-867
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Early online date23 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Color filter
  • camera sensitivity functions
  • color measurement

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