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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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When Light Looks Like Paint

When Light Looks Like Paint

(p.393) Chapter 51 When Light Looks Like Paint
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions

Frederick A. A. Kingdom

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes misperceptions of light Occasionally, nonuniform illumination such as a cast shadow, shading, or a spotlight appears to be paint or stain, or even a familiar object: in short, light appears to be “material.” Artists have for a long time been interested in how people distinguish material from illumination in their search for ways to depict shadows and shading, and vision scientists have devoted much effort to understanding how vision distinguishes material from illumination using carefully crafted laboratory stimuli. In this chapter examples are described from the natural visual world as well as from art. The chapter argues that such misperceptions are rational interpretations made by vision when the normal rules for the occurrence of spatially nonuniform illumination are violated. Concepts covered include terminology. Mach card, Hering’s shadow illusion, the Gelb effect, shadow art illusion, chromatic shadow illusion, and shadows that appear as objects.

Keywords:   shadow art, Mach card, Gelb effect, Hering’s shadow illusion, chromatic shadow illusion, shadows

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