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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: 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.