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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday February 28 2015, @07:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the Do-mine-eyes-deceive-me? dept.

Color scientists already have a word for it: Dressgate. Now the Washington Post reports that a puzzling thing happened on Thursday night consuming millions — perhaps tens of millions — across the planet and trending on Twitter ahead of even Jihadi John’s identification. The problem was this: Roughly three-fourths of people swore that this dress was white and gold, according to BuzzFeed polling but everyone else said it's dress was blue. Others said the dress could actually change colors. So what's going on? According to the NYT our eyes are able to assign fixed colors to objects under widely different lighting conditions. This ability is called color constancy. But the photograph doesn’t give many clues about the ambient light in the room. Is the background bright and the dress in shadow? Or is the whole room bright and all the colors are washed out? If you think the dress is in shadow, your brain may remove the blue cast and perceive the dress as being white and gold. If you think the dress is being washed out by bright light, your brain may perceive the dress as a darker blue and black.

According to Beau Lotto, the brain is doing something remarkable and that's why people are so fascinated by this dress. “It’s entertaining two realities that are mutually exclusive. It’s seeing one reality, but knowing there’s another reality. So you’re becoming an observer of yourself. You’re having tremendous insight into what it is to be human. And that’s the basis of imagination.” As usual xkcd has the final word.

 
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by gman003 on Saturday February 28 2015, @08:19PM

    by gman003 (4155) on Saturday February 28 2015, @08:19PM (#151185)

    The physical dress is blue/black. People have identified the specific dress in question, and it's unquestionably blue/black.

    The image of the dress is white/gold, due to massive overexposure and color balance. Open it up in GIMP, check for yourself.

    Some people are able to pick up on the bad white point and see it as blue/black. Others, like me, can't - I note that most of the image is occupied by the dress, so there isn't much context for the eyes to go on.

    Can we consider this argument settled now?

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by pnkwarhall on Saturday February 28 2015, @08:21PM

    by pnkwarhall (4558) on Saturday February 28 2015, @08:21PM (#151186)

    Not between me and my wife. Logic didn't work there...

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    • (Score: 2) by Konomi on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:14PM

      by Konomi (189) on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:14PM (#151272)

      The theory of why people see it as blue/black is currently: A. They have a poor screen or B. They have a slight form of colour blindness.

      • (Score: 2) by tathra on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:11AM

        by tathra (3367) on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:11AM (#151365)

        The theory of why people see it as blue/black is currently: A. They have a poor screen or B. They have a slight form of colour blindness.

        except the dress is factually blue and black, so do you mean the people who see it as white/gold are a or b? because i don't see how you can say that the people who are seeing the colors that are actually there have a bad monitor or a form of color blindness.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:02PM (#151515)

          Nobody is arguing that the dress itself is not black and blue, they are arguing that the PHOTO OF THE DRESS does not show the colours as black and blue.
          It can be *objectively* demonstrated, using any image of photo-editing software you might like to pick out, that the "black" in the photo is actually a gold colour, and that the "blue" - reported by most to be white - is actually a pale blue.

        • (Score: 2) by khedoros on Monday March 02 2015, @08:34AM

          by khedoros (2921) on Monday March 02 2015, @08:34AM (#151748)
          That's a weak argument. If I've got a selection of color swatches displayed under a sodium vapor lamp, blue and red will look black, white and yellow are likely to look nearly identical, etc. If I take a picture under those conditions, I can't call someone who can't distinguish the red swatch out of them "colorblind", because the information in the image is insufficient. I've got a bunch of color film negatives. I can scan them onto my computer, invert the colors....and they still have a very blue tint to them (from the orange of the film itself). If I'm wearing a red shirt in the image, it'll look almost bright magenta, or maybe purplish. I can't cut out a section of that image and ridicule someone for not being able to discern what the original color was. The visual context isn't present in the image.

          The dress is blue and black, but its appearance in the image is undeniably, objectively, and measurably white and gold, due to tricks of the lighting. Some people find enough visual context in the image for their brain to do a color correction to perceive washed-out black and blue. Some people don't, and see the uncorrected colors. It's a silly thing to argue about.
  • (Score: 1) by wantkitteh on Saturday February 28 2015, @08:45PM

    by wantkitteh (3362) on Saturday February 28 2015, @08:45PM (#151202) Homepage Journal

    I think there is some merit to the psychovisual interpretation aspects of the question, but I haven't seen anyone take into account the fact that individual screens will represent the colours in the image in a different way. I suspect this would alter some of the visual cues everyone's been going on about sufficiently to account for a lot of the difference in opinion.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:34PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:34PM (#151279) Journal

      You could open both images in two browser windows side by side..... on the same physical screen.

      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61lcZeEZEPL._UL1500_.jpg [images-amazon.com]

      http://img.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2015/02/tumblr_nkcjuq8Tdr1tnacy1o1_500.jpg [washingtonpost.com]

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      • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:00AM

        by wantkitteh (3362) on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:00AM (#151292) Homepage Journal

        lolwut? I'm theorising that differences in colour representations between displays might have a significant effect on colour perception in edge cases like this. I have no idea what you're thinking.

        • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:49AM

          by Whoever (4524) on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:49AM (#151331) Journal

          I'm theorising that differences in colour representations between displays might have a significant effect on colour perception in edge cases like this.

          I tried playing with the color and other settings for my monitor and could not get it to appear anything other than light blue and dirty brown. No white and gold for me.

      • (Score: 1) by t-3 on Sunday March 01 2015, @03:58AM

        by t-3 (4907) on Sunday March 01 2015, @03:58AM (#151404) Journal

        Amazon is definitely black and blue. The other pic looks gold/brown and white to me, but my mom and dad both said they saw black and blue. Is this some kind of benign mass color-blindness?

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday March 01 2015, @05:32AM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 01 2015, @05:32AM (#151424) Journal

          Were they standing there looking over your shoulder at your computer?

          Because I've realized that its impossible to but those two pictures side by side on the SAME MONITOR had have people see different things without some biological thing going on.

          There is no way you can put a swatch of BLACK next to GOLD and not have it be apparent to the most casual observer.
          http://s22.postimg.org/w621krqdd/You_are_blind.png [postimg.org]

          This isn't a discussion about over or under exposure. Its two images side by side taken as given.
          Its not about lighting conditions, viewing it side-on or at an angle. Just look at the above image.
          Print it off.

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    • (Score: 2) by Ryuugami on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:27AM

      by Ryuugami (2925) on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:27AM (#151310)

      I haven't seen anyone take into account the fact that individual screens will represent the colours in the image in a different way.

      AFAIK, lots of people have thought about that, as it's the most obvious solution. Alas, even when viewing it on the same screen, the answers differ. For example: [vice.com]

      I sent Dr. Neitz the link to the Tumblr post and asked him to tell me what color he saw. "White and gold," he told me flatly. "What is it you're asking?"
      After I explained that I saw the dress as blue and black, he said he wanted to ask one of the students working in his vision lab for a second opinion. "Blue and black," the student replied. There was a long pause on the other end of the phone.

      To board the speculation train, my guess is it has to do with how many bad photos you've seen. There is no way in hell you could see the gold parts as black, unless you were conditioned by thousands of photos where something you knew was black looked gold.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @01:01AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @01:01AM (#151339)

        To board the speculation train, my guess is it has to do with how many bad photos you've seen.

        I was thinking that too.

        There is no way in hell you could see the gold parts as black, unless you were conditioned by thousands of photos where something you knew was black looked gold.

        But I came to the exact opposite conclusion. I'm very sensitive to black-point miscalibration, I see it in badly encoded movies all the time - even straight from the studio they occasional fuck-up the black point, set it too high like it is in this photo. I use a PC to play all the video I watch on tv. One of the main reasons I do that is for the ability to correct messed up black levels. So, based on my experience with such things I was expecting you to say that people who have seen a lot of that would recognize it as black and blue because they have experience with that sort of error - as I do.

        However, I have seen it as gold and white when it was thumbnailed next to some text on a page with white background.

    • (Score: 1) by vux984 on Monday March 02 2015, @04:31AM

      by vux984 (5045) on Monday March 02 2015, @04:31AM (#151719)

      ut I haven't seen anyone take into account the fact that individual screens will represent the colours in the image in a different way.

      I had it open on an S-IPS color corrected display, and saw it white gold for an entire day, despite knowing it was actually blue black. Next day I looked at the same picture on the same screen ... suddenly I saw the blue/black "interpretation" and couldn't figure out how I'd missed it before.

      While display accuracy/quality definitely will be a factor, I'm chalking it up to an optical illusion / gestalt switch. I posted another example in another post.

  • (Score: 2) by DrMag on Saturday February 28 2015, @10:48PM

    by DrMag (1860) on Saturday February 28 2015, @10:48PM (#151260)

    There's another aspect to this too: everyone is looking at this photo on LCD screens. Pull up the photo on such a screen and move your head around. You will see very clearly that from one angle the dress is clearly blue/black, while from another it is clearly white/gold. The image is very poorly done and not a good representation of reality. In addition, the types of screens we use ubiquitously today tweak that balance depending on what angle you're looking from.

    I agree that the argument needs to stop, though; there are far more important things to discuss.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by frojack on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:44PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:44PM (#151283) Journal

      Doesn't matter if the image is poorly done or not.

      What we all have is the image, the same image, and maybe different monitors.

      So I pasted them together, Amazon on left, Question-Dress on right.
      http://s22.postimg.org/w621krqdd/You_are_blind.png [postimg.org]

      Anybody sees these as the same has a visual defect.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @03:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @03:31AM (#151398)

      There's another aspect to this too: everyone is looking at this photo on LCD screens.

      I thought maybe the same thing. Until I showed it to my wife on my LCD screen. No matter what angle she looked at it it appears to her as white/gold. It is blue/brownish to me. When I told her I saw it as a lightish blue color she thought I was nuts.

      There is a bit more here than an optical illusion or LCD angle.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02 2015, @12:51AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02 2015, @12:51AM (#151687)

        Showed my wife the picture again. "now that one is blue". "its the same picture" "waaaah your messing with me" Still the same shade of blue every time for me...

  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:00PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday February 28 2015, @11:00PM (#151266)

    I have no fucking idea what you're talking about. The dress in the crappy overexposed photo is still obviously blue and black. I don't need to open it in GIMP, I can just crop out the whole background and look at a piece of the dress by itself: it's blue and black.

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by frojack on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:29AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:29AM (#151314) Journal

      Try this: http://s22.postimg.org/w621krqdd/You_are_blind.png [postimg.org]

      If both are blue and black your monitor is defective.

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      • (Score: 2) by linuxrocks123 on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:07AM

        by linuxrocks123 (2557) on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:07AM (#151361) Journal

        The one on the right looks blue and gold or orange. The one on the left looks blue and black. In no case can I force myself to see the bad photo as white and gold, just a lighter blue.

        The crappiness made the black look gold and the blue look lighter, but still not white. Where are people getting "white and gold" from?

        Additionally, the vendor of the dress needs to capitalize on this by making a white and gold version. That would probably be a pretty dress, actually.

      • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday March 02 2015, @03:21PM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 02 2015, @03:21PM (#151901) Journal

        Have you (and others) considered why you're letting this rile you up?

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  • (Score: 1) by mja on Sunday March 01 2015, @01:14AM

    by mja (1137) on Sunday March 01 2015, @01:14AM (#151346) Journal

    > Both answers are correct

    I've seen it both ways, a washed out black+blue in the afternoon on a bright sunny winter day. Gold+white is now at night under a not so bright 5w LED lamp. Same monitor.

    Currently I am unable to see the black+blue. I'll check tomorrow, in bright light, whether it changes again. I guess my brain is more happy to apply an overexposition interpretation, when my room is full of overexposition.

    • (Score: 2) by tynin on Sunday March 01 2015, @05:39AM

      by tynin (2013) on Sunday March 01 2015, @05:39AM (#151426) Journal

      I had the same thing occur. During the daylight hours, the dress looked white and gold. Right now, middle of the night, same exact monitor, looking at the same picture again, it is clearly blue and black.

      During the day my room was much brighter all around. Right now at night, my room has a single light on off to the side, but otherwise dark.

      This is just an optical illusion dealing with ambient brightness and how your eyes adjust in those conditions.