National Physical Laboratory

Appearance Characterisation

Materials Characterisation sweets
Image courtesy of iStockphoto

NPL offers a range of measurement services related to the appearance characteristics of a surface, which can be tailored to individual customer requirements through technical discussion.

Recently this has covered a wide variety of items, from car panels to human hair. Appearance characterisation includes measurements of colour, texture, gloss, haze and combinations of these. Full hemispherical multi-angular and multi-spectral (300 nm - 800 nm) measurements are available for uniform and non-uniform surfaces, which are coupled with robust image analysis and classification algorithms to facilitate full description of complex surfaces. Clients come from a diverse range of industries including packaging, construction, manufacturing, security, design and media, coatings and paints, personal healthcare and materials testing.


The Appearance team at NPL is currently leading a multi-disciplinary EU-funded project on the Measurement of Naturalness (MONAT). This combines our expertise in optical and materials measurement with image analysis, classification and regression techniques in order to provide a robust solution to the complex problem of understanding perceived naturalness.


Measuring visual appearance - a framework of the future
Pointer, M R
COAM, 19, November 2003


Customer Service tel: +44 20 8943 6151

Last Updated: 29 Mar 2012
Created: 5 Aug 2009


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