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SCIEN Talk: ChromaBlur: Rendering Chromatic Eye Aberration Improves Accommodation and Realism

ChromaBlur: Rendering Chromatic Eye Aberration Improves Accommodation and Realism
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 4:30pm
Packard 101
Marty Banks (UC Berkeley)
Abstract / Description: 

Computer-graphics engineers and vision scientists want to generate images that reproduce realistic depth-dependent blur. Current rendering algorithms take into account scene geometry, aperture size, and focal distance, and they produce photorealistic imagery as with a high-quality camera. But to create immersive experiences, rendering algorithms should aim instead for perceptual realism. In so doing, they should take into account the significant optical aberrations of the human eye. We developed a method that, by incorporating some of those aberrations, yields displayed images that produce retinal images much closer to the ones that occur in natural viewing. In particular, we create displayed images taking the eye's chromatic aberration into account. This produces different chromatic effects in the retinal image for objects farther or nearer than current focus. We call the method ChromaBlur. We conducted two experiments that illustrate the benefits of ChromaBlur. One showed that accommodation (eye focusing) is driven quite effectively when ChromaBlur is used and that accommodation is not driven at all when conventional methods are used. The second showed that perceived depth and realism are greater with imagery created by ChromaBlur than in imagery created conventionally. ChromaBlur can be coupled with focus-adjustable lenses and gaze tracking to reproduce the natural relationship between accommodation and blur in HMDs and other immersive devices. It can thereby minimize the adverse effects of vergence-accommodation conflicts.


Martin S. Banks received his Bachelor's degree from Occidental College in 1970. He majored in Psychology and minored in Physics. After spending a year in Germany teaching in their school system, he entered the graduate program at UC San Diego where he received a Master's degree in Experimental Psychology in 1973. Banks then moved to the graduate program at the University of Minnesota where he received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 1976. He was Assistant and Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin from 1976-1985. He moved to UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1985 where he has been Associate and Full Professor of Optometry and Vision Science until the present. He was Chairman of the Vision Science Program from 1995-2002, and again in 2012.

Banks has received awards for his work on basic and applied research on human visual development, on visual space perception, and on the development and evaluation of visual displays. These include the Young Investigator Award from the National Research Council (1978), Boyd R. McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association (1984), Kurt Koffka Medal from Giessen University (2007), Charles F. Prentice Award from the American Academy of Optometry (2016), and Otto Schade Prize from the Society for Information Display (2017). He has also been appointed Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences (1988), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008), Fellow of the American Psychological Society (2009), Holgate Fellow of Durham University (2011), WICN Fellow of University of Wales (2011), Honorary Professor of University of Wales (2017), and Borish Scholar of Indiana University (2017).