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J Vis. 2014 Feb 7;14(2). pii: 6. doi: 10.1167/14.2.6.

RenderToolbox3: MATLAB tools that facilitate physically based stimulus rendering for vision research.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


RenderToolbox3 provides MATLAB utilities and prescribes a workflow that should be useful to researchers who want to employ graphics in the study of vision and perhaps in other endeavors as well. In particular, RenderToolbox3 facilitates rendering scene families in which various scene attributes and renderer behaviors are manipulated parametrically, enables spectral specification of object reflectance and illuminant spectra, enables the use of physically based material specifications, helps validate renderer output, and converts renderer output to physical units of radiance. This paper describes the design and functionality of the toolbox and discusses several examples that demonstrate its use. We have designed RenderToolbox3 to be portable across computer hardware and operating systems and to be free and open source (except for MATLAB itself). RenderToolbox3 is available at


color; graphics rendering; material perception; stimuli; vision science

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