Standard techniques for the measurement of paper gloss are capable of providing highly repeatable indices of the gloss phenomenon. However, it is well known that the gloss phenomenon involves more than can be represented by a single number. A recently developed instrument called a microgoniophotometer has been applied to the characterization of paper gloss. The Bi-directional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) plots generated by this device were shown to be related quantitatively and directly to Fresnel's law of specular reflection and to the surface roughness of the sample. Unlike standard gloss meter measurements, the BRDF enables the analyst to distinguish between effects of surface roughness and the Fresnel reflectance factor. Moreover, the analysis provides a way to characterize quantitatively the importance of sub-surface specular reflections to the overall gloss of a coated paper.

Publication Date



Appears in January-March issue. The authors would like to express their appreciation to Per-Åke Johansson, Marie-Claude Béland and the staff at STFI for getting us involved in the gloss problem. We also appreciate the encouragement and help received from Norm Burningham and financial support by Hewlett-Packard.ISSN:0826-6220 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus