L. R. Luidolt (2020)

Perception of Light in Virtual Reality

communication medium

Master's Thesis


The perception of light and light incidence in the human eye is substantially different in real-world scenarios and virtual reality (VR) simulations. Standard low dynamic range displays, as used in common VR headsets, are not able to replicate the same light intensities we see in reality. Therefore, light phenomenons, such as temporal eye adaptation, perceptual glare, visual acuity reduction and scotopic color vision need to be simulated to generate realistic images. Even though, a physically based simulation of these effects could increase the perceived reality of VR applications, this topic has not been thoroughly researched yet. We propose a post-processing workflow for VR and augmented reality (AR), using eye tracking, that is based on medical studies of the healthy human eye and is able to run in real time, to simulate light effects as close to reality as possible. We improve an existing temporal eye adaptation algorithm to be view-dependent. We adapt a medically based glare simulation to run in VR and AR. Additionally, we add eye tracking to adjust the glare intensity according to the viewing direction and the glare appearance depending on the user’s pupil size. We propose a new function fit for the reduction of visual acuity in VR head mounted displays. Finally, we include scotopic color vision for more realistic rendering of low-light scenes. We conducted a primarily qualitative pilot study, comparing a real-world low-light scene to our VR simulation through individual, perceptual evaluation. Most participants mentioned, that the simulation of temporal eye adaptation, visual acuity reduction and scotopic color vision was similar or the same as their own perception in the real world. However, further work is necessary to improve the appearance and movement of our proposed glare kernel. We conclude, that our work has laid a ground base for further research regarding the simulation and individual adaptation to the perception of light in VR.

research topic

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