You are here

Visual qualities of materials

To measure and model the perception of real materials

To date, no methods have been developed to measure and manipulate perceived qualities of real materials under natural conditions. Recent advances in natural material perception research address the perception of reflectance and texture, e.g. glossiness (add references), translucency (add references), colour (add references), and roughness (add references) from pictures of materials or objects. However, pictorial perception of materials is different from perception of real stuff. Recent advances in augmented reality, using projections screens or projections on rapid prototypes, improved the appearance of materials and light, but results are still not looking realistic.

Developing empirical methods to study the perception of real stuff will form one major innovation of this project. A second major innovation is that we will study material perception including its interactions with lighting and shape perception, since these properties are perceptually confounded. Thirdly, we will study perceptual qualities of materials in a broader sense than just the reflectance and texture properties that can directly be manipulated by parameterized rendering. We will instead study material qualities which are relevant for interacting with them, such as heaviness / lightness, hardness / softness, and dirtyness / cleanness. We will test how these are related to their visual appearance under systematical variations of their physical material properties, object shape and lighting.



  • Dataset of controlled stimuli varying parameterically in material appearance
  • Detailed measurement of perceptual scales relating different materials appearances to one another
  • Development of novel methods for probing material appearance
  • Publications reporting relationship between physical parameters of materials and perceived appearance
Early Stage Researcher
Technical University of Delft
Project supervisors
Principal Investigator
Technical University of Delft