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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: 3, Insightful) by K_benzoate on Sunday March 01 2015, @10:51AM

    by K_benzoate (5036) on Sunday March 01 2015, @10:51AM (#151483)

    The disputed photo appears to me white and gold, the Amazon photo of the real dress is blue and black. I have perfect colour vision (and perfect vision as measured by my doctor this year) and a professionally calibrated monitor. If you see blue/black in the original image, your brain is doing a lot of additional post-processing which most humans are not experiencing. You're in a roughly 25% minority.

    This whole event proves that most vision is in the brain, and is subjective.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @03:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01 2015, @03:09PM (#151528)

    I see light blues and browns (with a few orange bits). And the RGB values seem to agree with me (go check them yourself).

    From the photo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/27/the-inside-story-of-the-white-dress-blue-dress-drama-that-divided-a-nation/ [washingtonpost.com]
    The RGB values are not the same as the ones here (the supposed actual dress): http://www.amazon.co.uk/really-loud-fartknockers/dp/B00SJEUCWU [amazon.co.uk] (which are black/dark grey and dark blue)

    Now what you should think the actual colours of the dress are based on the crappy photo is a different question ;).

    But that's why white balance etc is important when taking pictures, and why if colour is very important you use calibrated cameras and monitors.