Niklas Elmqvist, Ph.D.

Color Lens
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Synopsis: An interaction technique for dynamically adapting the color scale to the contents of a limited region of interest.


  • (2010-05-14) Color Lens in TVCG! - The article on the Color Lens technique was (finally) accepted for publication in IEEE TVCG , the most prestigious journal in information visualization! This took some time, but we finally made it!


  • Start date: January, 2008

Visualization applications routinely map quantitative attributes to color using color scales. Although color is an effective visualization channel, it is limited by both display hardware and the human visual system. We propose a new interaction technique that overcomes these limitations by dynamically optimizing color scales based on a set of sampling lenses. The technique inspects the lens contents in data space, optimizes the initial color scale, and then renders the contents of the lens to the screen using the modified color scale. We present two prototype implementations of this pipeline and describe several case studies involving both information visualization and image inspection applications. We validate our approach with two mutually linked and complementary user studies comparing the Color Lens with explicit contrast control for visual search.



  • N. Elmqvist, P. Dragicevic, J.-D. Fekete. Color Lens: Adaptive Color Scale Optimization for Visual Exploration. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 17(6):795-807, 2011. [PDF] [YouTube] [Website]