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Image processing methods that utilize characteristics of the human visual system require color spaces with certain properties to operate effectively. After analyzing different types of perception-based image processing problems, we present a list of properties that a unified color space should have. Due to contradictory perceptual phenomena and geometric issues, a color space cannot incorporate all these properties. We therefore identify the most important properties and focus on creating opponent color spaces without cross contamination between color attributes (i.e., lightness, chroma, and hue) and with maximum perceptual uniformity induced by color-difference formulas. Color lookup tables define simple transformations from an initial color space to the new spaces. We calculate such tables using multigrid optimization considering the Hung and Berns data of constant perceived hue and the CMC, CIE94, and CIEDE2000 color-difference formulas. The resulting color spaces exhibit low cross contamination between color attributes and are only slightly less perceptually uniform than spaces optimized exclusively for perceptual uniformity. We compare the CIEDE2000-based space with commonly used color spaces in two examples of perception-based image processing. In both cases, standard methods show improved results if the new space is used. All color-space transformations and examples are provided as MATLAB codes on our website.