DELTA E (ΔE)

The International Commission on Illumination (CIE) calls their distance metric ΔE*ab (also called ΔE*, dE*, dE, or "Delta E") where delta is a Greek letter often used to denote difference, and E stands for Empfindung; German for "sensation". Different studies have proposed different ΔE values that have a JND (just noticeable difference). Unempirically, a value of '1.0' is often mentioned, but in a recent study, Mahy et al. (1994) assessed a JND of 2.3 ΔE. However, perceptual non-uniformities in the underlying CIELAB color space prevent this and have led to the CIE's refining their definition over the years. These non-uniformities are important because the human eye is more sensitive to certain colors than others. A good metric should take this into account in order for the notion of a "just noticeable difference" to have meaning. Otherwise, a certain ΔE that may be insignificant between two colors that the eye is insensitive to may be conspicuous in another part of the spectrum.

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