Real-world surfaces typically have geometric features at a range of spatial scales. At the microscale, opaque surfaces are often characterized by bidirectional reflectance distribution functions (BRDF), which describes how a surface scatters incident light. At the mesoscale, surfaces often exhibit visible texture - stochastic or patterned arrangements of geometric features that provide visual information about surface properties such as roughness, smoothness, softness, etc. These textures also affect how light is scattered by the surface, but the effects are at a different spatial scale than those captured by the BRDF. Through this research, we investigate how microscale and mesoscale surface properties interact to contribute to overall surface appearance. This behavior is also the cause of the well-known "touch-up problem" in the paint industry, where two regions coated with exactly the same paint, look different in color, gloss and/or texture because of differences in application methods. At first, samples were created by applying latex paint to standard wallboard surfaces. Two application methods- spraying and rolling were used. The BRDF and texture properties of the samples were measured, which revealed differences at both the microscale and mesoscale. This data was then used as input for a physically-based image synthesis algorithm, to generate realistic images of the surfaces under different viewing conditions. In order to understand the factors that govern touch-up visibility, psychophysical tests were conducted using calibrated, digital photographs of the samples as stimuli. Images were presented in pairs and a two alternative forced choice design was used for the experiments. These judgments were then used as data for a Thurstonian scaling analysis to produce psychophysical scales of visibility, which helped determine the effect of paint formulation, application methods, and viewing and illumination conditions on the touch-up problem. The results can be used as base data towards development of a psychophysical model that relates physical differences in paint formulation and application methods to visual differences in surface appearance.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Surfaces (Technology)--Measurement; Surfaces (Technology)--Optical properties; Light--Scattering; Metrology

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)


Esterman, Marcos


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TA418.7 .K35 2011


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