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Advances in Optical Technologies
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 503541, 11 pages
Review Article

Automatic Characterization of the Visual Appearance of Industrial Materials through Colour and Texture Analysis: An Overview of Methods and Applications

1School of Industrial Engineering, Universidade de Vigo, Campus Universitario, 36310 Vigo, Spain
2Department of Industrial Engineering, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Via G. Duranti 67, 06125 Perugia, Italy

Received 15 July 2013; Revised 16 September 2013; Accepted 16 September 2013

Academic Editor: Pierre Chavel

Copyright © 2013 Elena González et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present an overview of methods and applications of automatic characterization of the appearance of materials through colour and texture analysis. We propose a taxonomy based on three classes of methods (spectral, spatial, and hybrid) and discuss their general advantages and disadvantages. For each class we present a set of methods that are computationally cheap and easy to implement and that was proved to be reliable in many applications. We put these methods in the context of typical industrial environments and provide examples of their application in the following tasks: surface grading, surface inspection, and content-based image retrieval. We emphasize the potential benefits that would come from a wide implementation of these methods, such as better product quality, new services, and higher customer satisfaction.