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Proceedings Article

Rehabilitation of gamma

[+] Author Affiliations
Charles A. Poynton

Consultant (Canada)

Proc. SPIE 3299, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III, 232 (July 17, 1998); doi:10.1117/12.320126
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From Conference Volume 3299

  • Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III
  • Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas
  • San Jose, CA | January 24, 1998


Gamma characterizes the reproduction of tone scale in an imaging system. Gamma summarizes, in a single numerical parameter, the nonlinear relationship between code value--in an 8-bit system, from 0 through 255--and physical intensity. Nearly all image coding systems are nonlinear, and so involve values of gamma different from unity. Owing to poor understanding of tone scale reproduction, and to misconceptions about nonlinear coding, gamma has acquired a terrible reputation in computer graphics and image processing. In addition, the world-wide web suffers from poor reproduction of grayscale and color images, due to poor handling of nonlinear image coding. This paper aims to make gamma respectable again.

© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

Charles A. Poynton
"Rehabilitation of gamma", Proc. SPIE 3299, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III, 232 (July 17, 1998); doi:10.1117/12.320126; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.320126

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