Visual Light Zones

Tatiana Kartashova*, Huib de Ridder, Susan F. te Pas, Sylvia C. Pont

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, we studied perception of a particular case of light fields that is characterized by a difference in its consistent structure between parts of a scene. In architectural lighting design, such a consistent structure in a part of a light field is called a light zone. First, we explored whether human observers are sensitive to light zones, that is, zones determined primarily by light flow differences, for a natural-looking scene. We found that observers were able to distinguish the light conditions between the zones. The results suggested an effect of light zones’ orientation. Therefore, in Experiment 2, we systematically examined how the orientation of light zones (left-right or front-back) with respect to a viewer influences light inferences in symmetric scenes. We found that observers are quite sensitive to the difference in the light flow of the light zones. In addition, we found that participants showed idiosyncratic behavior, especially for front-back-oriented light zones. Our findings show that observers are sensitive to differences in light field structure between two parts of a scene, which we call visual light zones.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • illumination
  • light
  • light field
  • light properties
  • light zones
  • visual perception


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