ChromaBlur: Rendering chromatic eye aberration
improves accommodation and realism

Steven A. Cholewiak1       Gordon D. Love2       Pratul P. Srinivasan3       Ren Ng3       Martin S. Banks1

1Optometry and Vision Science, University of California, Berkeley
2Computer Science, Durham University
3Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley


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 may thereby minimize the adverse effects of vergence-accommodation conflicts.



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  author = {Steven A. Cholewiak and Gordon S. Love and Pratul P. Srinivasan and Ren Ng and Martin S. Banks},
  title = {ChromaBlur: Rendering chromatic eye aberration improves accommodation and realism},
  journal = {ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG)},
  year = {2017},
  volume = {36},
  issue = {6},
  article = {210},
  doi = {10.1145/3130800.3130815},
  url = {},