An improved defect detection system for painted surfaces has been developed which significantly increases topographic defect visibility (dirt-in-paint, sags/runs/drips, sealer-under-paint, spits, craters, etc.) for the final inspector / polisher. These minor defects can then be repaired before leaving the “spillout” deck. A new luminaire was designed to maximize the contribution of several applicable principles. The new process has significantly reduced the number of defects leaving the spillout area, doubled the number of “zero defect” vehicles, and increased energy savings from 25-40%. The improved Paint Inspection Lighting process was issued as a Uniform Process specification by the Ford Motor Company Vehicle Operations and was implemented in all of the Ford North American assembly plants.